Screening Seniors for Risk of Functional Decline: Results of a Survey in Family Practice
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OBJECTIVE: To measure functional status, determine risk of functional decline and assess consistency between responses and standardized instruments. DESIGN: A mailed survey which measured functional impairment, recent hospitalization and bereavement. A positive response on at least one of these factors indicated that the individual was "at risk" for functional decline. A random sample (n = 73) of "at risk" subjects (specifically, family practice patients aged 70 and older) were assessed by a nurse. RESULTS: The response rate was 89% (369/415), 59% of seniors were female and the mean age was 77.1 (SD = 5.5) years. Self-reported risk, based on activities of daily living (ADLs), was associated with impairment in at least one basic ADL (p < 0.0005) using a standardized instrument. The positive predictive value of the survey for ADL impairment was 65%. CONCLUSION: Response to a mailed survey was high and self-reported ADL risks were consistent with findings from standardized assessment tools.
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