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Comparing Assessments of Physical Functional Independence in Older Adults with Mobility Limitations

Objectives The aims of the study were (1) to assess the agreement and correlation between self-reported functional independence and observations of family caregivers in a heterogeneous population of community-dwelling older adults with disabilities and (2) to determine how self-reports and caregiver reports correlate with evaluator rated functional independence over time. Design Data were drawn from a larger, randomized controlled trial examining the effects of a caregiver-inclusive intervention on outcomes of care recipients and their family caregivers. Functional independence measures were obtained using a self-report version of the Functional Independence Measure (care recipient self-reported Functional Independence Measure, caregiver self-reported Functional Independence Measure) and the Functional Autonomy Measurement System (evaluator perspective). They were administered at baseline (preintervention) and after the intervention at 6, 22, and 58 wks. Results Bivariate correlation analyses of 90 dyads consisting of older care recipients and their family caregivers reported moderate to very strong correlations between the three functional independence measures across all time points (rS = 0.45-0.91, P < 0.01). Bland-Altman analyses revealed a small systematic bias between care recipient and caregiver assessments of functional independence, with participants reporting higher scores across all time points (mean difference = 2.00-2.97). Conclusions There is substantial consistency among the self-assessed, caregiver-assessed, and evaluator assessed functional independence of older adults. Caregivers may be used as proxies for community-dwelling older adults without severe cognitive impairments with functional limitations. 

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Journal article
Walters Kluwer
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American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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