The Revised Direct Assessment of Functional Status for Independent Older Adults

The University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing, 1700 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701, USA.
The Gerontologist (Impact Factor: 3.21). 10/2009; 50(3):363-70. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp139
Source: PubMed


The original version of the Direct Assessment of Functional Status (DAFS), a measure of instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), was found to have a ceiling effect in older adults living independently in the community. This suggested that the tasks measured, although relevant, do not require full use of this population's abilities, and thus, the instrument may not be sensitive to the early decrements in IADLs that can signal initial cognitive impairment and may not detect improvements in IADLs over time, which is especially important in intervention research.
By removing items with little to no variation and adding more difficult subscales that emphasized medication management skills, we designed the DAFS-Extended (Direct Assessment of Functional Status-Revised [DAFS-R]) to be more challenging for elders living independently.
Analysis with a sample of 45 older adults suggested that scores on the DAFS-R appear to be more normally distributed than on the original version. The DAFS was able to differentiate individuals with varying standard profile scores on the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test memory performance instrument (normal, poor, and impaired). In addition, the reliability and validity of the DAFS-R were supported in this sample.
Given the large number of older adults who regularly take multiple prescription medications, deficits in medication management skills can have serious consequences. A performance measure that emphasizes these higher level daily living skills can help providers screen for initial signs of functional decline.

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Available from: Heather Becker, Oct 08, 2015
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    • "Compared to other validation studies of performance tests for dementia patients, we thus have a relatively large sample [11,32,33]. The calculated Cronbach’s alpha of .70 is in the range of other procedures (TEFA subscales: .61-.94 [12]; DAFS: between .23 and .67; "
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    ABSTRACT: There is lack of consensus on the best method of functional assessment, and there is a paucity of studies on daily functioning in centenarians. We sought to compare associations between performance-based, self-report, and proxy report of functional status in centenarians. We expected the strongest relationships between proxy reports and observed performance of basic activities of daily living (BADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). We hypothesized that the discrepancy between self-report and observed daily functioning would be modified by cognitive status. We additionally sought to provide clinicians with estimates of centenarians' observed daily functioning based on their mental status in combination with subjective measures of activities of daily living (ADLs). Two hundred and forty-four centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study were included in this cross-sectional population-based study. Measures included the Direct Assessment of Functional Status, self-report and proxy report of functional status, and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Associations between observed and proxy reports were stronger than between observed and self-report across BADL and IADL measures. A significant MMSE by type of report interaction was found, indicating that lower MMSE performance is associated with a greater discrepancy between subjective and objective ADL measures. Results demonstrate associations between 3 methods of assessing functional status and suggest proxy reports are generally more accurate than self-report measures. Cognitive status accounted for some of the discrepancy between observed and self-reports, and we provide clinicians with tables to estimate centenarians' performance on observed functional measures based on MMSE and subjective report of functional status.
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