Assessing functional status: Correlation between performance on tasks conducted in a clinic setting and performance on the same task conducted at home

Sheila K West, Gary S. Rubin, Beatriz Munoz, Deepa Abraham, Linda P Fried

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Background. Many studies of functional status in elderly people use performance-based measures. There is an underlying assumption that these measures reflect, at least for some tasks, functional abilities in everyday tasks carried out at home. The purpose of this study was to determine the correlation between tasks carried out in the clinic and at home, and the role of visual impairment in performance at either setting. Methods. We compared the performance of 97 participants in the Salisbury Eye Evaluation (SEE) project at the clinic and at home on eight different rusks: semitandem stand, functional reach, stair climb and descend, inserting a plug, looking up and dialing a telephone number, and reading. Results. The correlations were good for all tasks, with coefficients ranging from .52 to .86. Those with visual impairment were slightly more likely to perform better at home compared to the clinic, although the differences were statistically significant only for the reading task. The most important predictor of performance on any task in the home was performance on the task at the clinic, even after adjusting for age, race, sex, education, and visual impairment. Educational level and visual impairment were consistent predictors of performance in the home for most tests. Conclusions. We conclude that performances on standardized tasks in the clinic setting do correlate with similar tasks performed in the home, although the relationship is complicated in the presence of visual impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging

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