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What Are ADLs? - Part IV

Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living

There are many ADL and IADL evaluation tools used to measure the normal changes that occur due to aging and health problems. A functional assessment providing objective data is one of the best methods of evaluating the health status of older adults to determine future decline or improvement.

The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living, generally referred to as the Katz ADL Index, is one of the best tools for this purpose.

The Katz ADL Index was developed by American physician Sidney Katz, MD after studying 64 hip fracture patients over an 18-month time span. The study indicated patients of a certain independence level could perform specific basic activities while others with lesser independence levels were able to perform less of the same activities – ranging from the most complicated being bathing to the least complicated of self-feeding. Using this data, Katz developed a scale to evaluate an individual’s ability to live independently.

The Katz ADL Index ranks proficiency of performance in six functions or activities: bathing, toileting, dressing, continence, feeding and transferring. The Index works best when baseline measurements have been taken during a time when the patient is well. Periodic or subsequent measures can then be compared to this baseline to signal when impairment begins or worsens.

The Katz ADL Index measures basic ADLs. Since it doesn’t measure more advanced ADLs, Katz created a separate scale to measure IADLs. Although the Katz ADL Index can signal changes in health status as it declines, it falls short when measuring small increments of improvements often accomplished in a senior adult's rehabilitation process.

The Katz ADL Index acts as a common language when discussing patient proficiency for all practitioners involved in planning the care and/or discharge of a senior adult. Source: SeniorLiving org

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