Abstract

Background. Dependency in activities of daily living (ADLs) is a reality within nursing homes, and we describe ADL measurement strategies based on items in the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and the creation and distributional properties of three ADL self-performance scales and their relationship to other measures.

Methods. Information drawn from four data sets for a multistep analysis was guided by four study objectives: (1) to identify the subcomponents of ADLs that are present in the MDS battery; (2) to demonstrate how these items could be aggregated within hierarchical and additive ADL summary scales; (3) to describe the baseline and longitudinal distributional properties of these scales in a large, seven-state MDS database; and (4) to evaluate how these scales relate to two external criteria.

Results. Prevalence and factor structure findings for seven MDS ADL self-performance variables suggest that these items can be placed into early, middle, and late loss ADL components. Two types of summary ADL self-performance measures Were created: additive and hierarchical. Distributional properties of these scales are described, as is their relationship to two external ADL criteria that have been reported in prior studies: first as an independent variable predicting staff time involved in resident care; second as a dependent variable in a study of the efficacy of two programs to improve resident functioning.

Conclusions. The new ADL summary scales, based on readily available MDS data, should prove useful to clinicians, program auditors, and researchers who use the MDS functional self-performance items to determine a resident's ADL status.