Assessing functional ability in older patients

Louise Møldrup Nielsen, Thomas Maribo, Hanne Grethe Nielsen, Jonna Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aim: This study aimed to develop an understanding of how primary and secondary care health
professionals perceive current practice and challenges in assessing older patients’ functional abilities. A
secondary aim was to gain insight into how these professionals perceive the need for generic tools for
assessing functional ability among older patients.
Method: A qualitative design was used to explore health professionals’ perspectives on the assessment
of older patients’ functional ability. Two groups of health professionals participated in focus group
interviews, with one group for each of the two different settings: the local hospital and the municipality.
Results: Focus group interviews showed that health professionals in the hospital and the municipality
expressed the need for an observation-based tool to predict and guide decisions about the
rehabilitation needs of older patients. Participants from the hospital expressed a need for a fast and
simple screening tool to identify those in need of further rehabilitation and care after discharge.
Participants from the municipality expressed a need for a more detailed assessment tool to capture
information about patients’ ability to perform daily activities, any need for food delivery, and
information about social relationships and home environment.
Conclusion: The health professionals at the hospital and in the municipality had different expectations
when it comes to assessment tools. All participants would like a simple tool that is quick to administer,
to assess the quality of functional ability and predict the need for rehabilitation. The different context
(hospital or primary care) seems to influence the way health professionals perceive the need for
assessment of functional ability in older patients.
Translated title of the contributionUndersøgelse af funktionsevne hos ældre
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • qualitative method
  • fokusgruppeinterview
  • elderly
  • ældre medinske patienter
  • screening
  • funktionsundersøgelser
  • activity
  • ADL-evne


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