What is the most used ADL assessment?

I am always curious to learn what ADL assessment occupational therapists (OTs) use the most.

I teach Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) certification courses in the US and abroad and when I do, I always ask what ADL assessments OTs are using the most often.  Venture a guess? 

The top, most popular ADL assessment is…. informal, non-standardized ADL task observation.

Oh yeah, that.

It isn’t the first assessment that comes to the minds of the participants in the AMPS courses, either.  We usually have a robust list of assessment tools compiled before I ask, “Does anyone ever just watch their client do a task that they need and want to do?”

adult learners raising hands affirming the most used ADL assessment

Informal, Non-Standardized Observation of ADL tasks

We OTs are a diverse, global community but I think that this assessment, which many of us forget to even call an assessment, unites us.  Which also means our belief in the therapeutic power of occupation, unites us.  Our need for keen observation skills also unites us.

Back to the AMPS courses…I then usually ask, “Why are you observing your client doing a task?”

Things get interesting!  Here are some of the common responses:

  • “So I can assess how safe they are.”
  • “So I can understand what their cognitive problems are.”
  • “So I can assess their level of independence.”   
  • “So I can understand what deficits they have.”   

Now our common assessment divides into two types of observations:  performance analysis and task analysis.  There is a big difference between the two!  But 

We will talk about the difference between these two observations in the next post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Performance analysis of woman cutting food
Woman cooking is evaluated using the most used ADL assessment
woman hanging laundry is evaluated using the most used ADL assessment