Functional Assessment

A primary goal of the geriatric assessment is to identify interventions to help patients maintain function and stay at home in independent living situations. The functional assessment focuses on activities of daily living (ADLs) and risk screening for falls. The basic ADLs include eating, dressing, bathing, transferring, and toileting. The instrumental ADLs (IADLs) consist of shopping, managing money, driving, using the telephone, housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, and managing medications (Katz, 1983). Home health and social services referral should be considered for patients who have difficulty with the ADLs. A simple method of screening patients for gait and mobility problems is to ask, "Have you fallen all the way to the ground in the past 12 months?" A positive screen should lead to a more thorough evaluation and consideration of a physical therapy referral (Ganz et al., 2007) (see Falls Assessment).

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