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Book Chapter

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activities of daily living, quality of life, nursing homes, home care services, nurses


The activities of daily living (ADLs) is a term used to collectively describe fundamental skills that are required to independently care for oneself such as eating, bathing, and mobility. The term activities of daily living was first coined by Sidney Katz in 1950. ADL is used as an indicator of a person’s functional status. The inability to perform ADLs results in the dependence of other individuals and/or mechanical devices. The inability to accomplish essential activities of daily living may lead to unsafe conditions and poor quality of life. Measurement of an individual’s ADL is important as these are predictors of admission to nursing homes, need for alternative living arrangements, hospitalization and use of paid home care. The outcome of a treatment program can also be assessed by reviewing a patient’s ADLs. Nurses are often the first to note when patients' functionality declines during hospitalization; therefore, routine screening of ADLs is imperative and nursing assessment of ADL's is performed on all hospitalized patients. Hospitalization for an acute or chronic illness may influence a person’s ability to meet personal goals and sustain independent living. Chronic illnesses progress over time, resulting in a physical decline that may lead to a loss of ability to perform ADL's. In 2011, the United States National Health Interview Survey determined that 20.7% of adults aged 85 or older, 7% of those aged 75 to 84 and 3.4% of those aged 65 to 74 needed help with ADLs.

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StatPearls Publishing LLC

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Nursing Commons