Case Management, Guardianship Support, Legal Support

Measuring ADL’s to Assess Needs and Improve Independence

 January 28, 2016

By  Kimberly German

Each day, there are basic tasks we perform to keep ourselves active and functioning in society. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are routine activities individuals perform every day that allow them to live and function independently.  Doctors, rehabilitation specialists, and others healthcare professionals look at the way in which an individual is able to perform these activities in order to evaluate their functional status. An individual’s ability to perform these tasks is important in determining whether home care coverage or long-term care is necessary to make sure the individual is safe. As people age, the inability to perform ADLs becomes more common often resulting in the need for more supervision and assistance.  The information gathered from analyzing these activities is a good predictor of a wide range of health-related behavior.

There are many systems for categorizing and defining activities of daily living.  While different systems exist, these activities are most commonly sub-divided into basic activities of daily living (BADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

Basic ADLs refer to the basic tasks of everyday life; these are tasks that are learned in childhood and are required for personal self-care and independent living throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Basic Activities of Daily Living include:

  • Eating
  • Climbing Stairs
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Grooming
  • Transferring
  • Bathing
  • Continence
  • Walking

Because the full range of activities necessary for independent living in a community is not covered by the list of basic activities of daily living, a secondary more comprehensive list was designed to fill this gap. These tasks are generally more complex than those listed above and are referred to as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). These activities allow one to interact independently in a community.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living include:

  • Shopping for Food or Clothing
  • Driving or Using Transportation
  • Cooking
  • Managing Finances
  • Doing Housework
  • Telephoning
  • Doing Laundry
  • Managing Medications

Why evaluate ADL’s?

Originally these evaluations were performed to assess recovery in rehabilitation patients. Today these evaluations are performed for a number of reasons by a variety of individuals and organizations, including: doctors, occupational and physical therapists, nurses, insurance agencies, healthcare organizations, and rehabilitation facilities. One of the obvious benefits of these evaluations is that they measure the health status of individuals beyond the limitations of medical diagnoses and physical/mental conditions.  This allows for more effective care and rehabilitation of individuals. From a financial standpoint, the measurements from these evaluations are often used as criteria for paying benefits to individuals. As an example, long-term care policies will not consider coverage until an individual is unable to perform at least two out of six activities of daily living

Other reasons for evaluating ADLs include:

  • Providing an overview of functional status
  • Determining physical/mental limitations
  • Establishing a treatment plan
  • Evaluating and monitoring progress
  • Measuring and Facilitating the outcomes of rehabilitation

Here at AdvancedRM one of our goals is to overcome activity limitations for our clients to prevent restriction in the areas of education, work, play, leisure and social activities. Our expert staff of care managers works diligently to find ways to help overcome ADL and IADL deficits. We help to find ways to keep your elderly family member as independent as possible by assisting with resource development, coordination of care, and logistical support.

You can contact us now to discuss our Eldercare Care Management program by calling us at 484-386-6100 or e-mailing us at arm@advancedrm.com.

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