The Power of a Performance Analysis

Recap: last time we talked about two different ways to observe ADL task performance, by implementing a performance analysis or a task analysis. Today we are looking at the power of implementing a performance analysis.

We occupational therapists administer a performance analysis when we need to assess a person’s performance of tasks that he or she needs/wants to do.  The power of a performance analysis is that we focus on the quality of what the person is DOING. 

When observing ADL tasks, we can judge the quality of a person’s doing using four general categories:

  • Physical effort or clumsiness
  • Time-space efficiency
  • Safety
  • Independence

Here Comes the Power

We can use these categories to give an overall appraisal of a person’s task performance, “Tania made soup with minimal verbal assistance and with moderate time-space inefficiency.”  Some of us get this far in a performance analysis.

But we miss out on the power of performance analysis if we stop there!  A performance analysis also gives us the power to support our overall appraisal of the person’s performance with specific, observable evidence.

Here are several of the observations we recorded for Tania:

  • Tania received two verbal cues to locate the pepper, though she chose its location before the task started.
  • Tania stopped cooking the soup before it was fully cooked.
  • When stirring the soup, the pot slid on and off the stove burner.
  • When serving the soup, Tania bumped the ladle into the pot resulting in soup spilling on the table.

Now we have evidence

Now we have measurable and observable evidence to support our appraisal of Tania’s moderate time-space inefficiency: Tania stopped cooking too soon, ineffectively stabilized the pot on the stove, and bumped the ladle and spilled the soup.

We have measurable and observable evidence to support our assessment of Tania needing minimal assistance to complete the task: Tania received two needed cues to locate the pepper.

We also have provided ourselves with a precise track for goal-setting and intervention planning.

One thing that can make performance analyses easier to implement is an understanding of what exactly we are observing during a performance analysis – performance skills.  We will talk more about the power of the performance skills next time.

Thanks for stopping by!

power of performance analysis of woman making soup
power of performance analysis of woman making soup
power of performance analysis of woman making soup

Want to read more?  Check out these references:

Fisher, A. G. (2009). Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model: A model for planning and implementing top-down, client-centered, and occupation-based interventions.

Fisher, A. G., & Griswold, L. A. (2014). Performance skills: Implementing performance analyses to evaluate quality of occupational performance. In B. A. B. Schell, G. Gillen, & M. E. Scaffa (eds.), Willard & Spackman’s occupational therapy (12th ed., pp. 249–264). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Fisher, A. G. & Jones, K. B. (2017). Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model. In J. Hinojosa, P. Kramer, & C. B. Royeen. Perspectives on human occupation: Theories underlying practice (2nd ed., pp. 237–286). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer|Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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