What are ADLs?

If you are applying for home care, placement or hospice, you may be asked about your ADLs, or if it is for a loved one, the ADLs of that person

That term is an acronym for Activities of Daily Living.  This is a term and a guideline established in the 1980s by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Basically, this is what the department identifies as ADLs:

“The term “activities of daily living” refers to a set of common, everyday tasks, performance of which is required for personal self-care and independent living. The most often used measure of functional ability is the Katz Activities of Daily Living Scale (Katz et al., 1963; Katz, 1983).

In this scale, the set of tasks assessed are bathing, dressing, transferring, using the toilet, continence, and eating.

A theoretical basis for selecting these functions is that they represent milestones in the sociobiological development of self-care independence in children (Katz and Akpom, 1976).

Its original purpose was to differentiate physical functional abilities among rehabilitation and recuperating patients.

Measures of the ability to perform the ADLs have become routine in surveys of older people, partly displacing the National Health Interview Survey disability classification of being “unable to perform your major (or usual) activity” (National Center for Health Statistics, 1979).

ADLs are more specific and concrete than an inability to perform a “major activity,” thus avoiding situational or contextual differences among survey respondents.

This is particularly an issue among those elderly persons for whom their “major activity” is ill-defined (Branch and Meyers, 1987).

Another advantage of assessing ADLs is that they can be used to provide general information on the basic service needs of the disabled.

A person unable to feed himself or herself needs help eating; if it is not clear what, if any, services a person needs who is “unable to perform his major activity.”

Finally, as discussed above, ADL status is a good predictor of a wide range of health-related behavior.”

Look upon these definitions as aids in determining what kind of care you or your loved one needs.

Talk with the professionals concerned, and they can help you determine where your husband’s greatest needs are and what help with his ADLs he may need........take care......Regina