Family help available

Mark V. Johnston, Richard Zorowitz, Barbara Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers the neglected problem of assessment of family function relevant to the placement and level of care for persons with long-term disabilities. An examination of both practical clinical issues and policy shows the need for improved means of assessing families. A review of the literature on family assessment shows the mixed success of past attempts to quantify family structure, dynamics, and support. Data from a prospective study involving an experimental measure of Family Help Available (FHA) are then presented. FHA was found to be a strong predictor of nursing home placement and disability support costs. Nursing home versus home residence could be predicted with 94% accuracy, but only by using both FHA and disability. Greater FHA was essential to compensate for greater patient disability. One can neither place a disabled patient nor understand disability-related costs without assessment of family support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
JournalTopics in Geriatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


  • Caregiver
  • Costs
  • Family function
  • Functional assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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