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N Engl J Med. 1990 Apr 26;322(17):1207-14.

Instruments for the functional assessment of older patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis.

Abstract

Structured assessment instruments are particularly useful in screening for problems that often go undetected in older patients. In addition, such instruments can provide information about conditions and abilities or limitations that are not regularly assessed in standard clinical practice. Often, their administration is delegated to other health professionals, but these tools still provide useful information to the physician. Clinicians should view assessment instruments as they would any other clinical test. They should be familiar with the strengths, weaknesses, and precision of any test used and understand how best to use the test as an adjunct to clinical practice. In addition, clinicians must learn to focus on functional status, in terms of both assessment and outcome, in their care of older patients.

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