Most Common Occupational Therapy Assessment Tools for Adults

Sep 3, 2020 12:43:05 PM

A comprehensive evaluation is an essential first step for any occupational therapy patient plan. Assessment tools give you the valuable information you need to create the most effective treatment plan based on your patient’s needs. Assessments also help to establish health goals, which are critical for improved patient health outcomes — they provide a target to go after as well as a way to measure progress and success. In this post, we’ll look at 14 popular occupational therapy assessment tools used for adults and the benefits of each.

1. Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile

The Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile measures sensory processing patterns and their effects on functional performance. It’s a judgment-based self-questionnaire that elicits information about general responsiveness to various sensory stimuli. It helps to identify processing deficits that may keep a person from participating in certain daily activities.  The assessment includes questions related to auditory processing, activity level, visual processing, movement processing, taste and smell processing, and touch processing.

2. Motor-Free Visual Perception Test (MVPT)

This assessment is a widely-used standardized test of visual perception. Unlike many other visual perception tests, it assesses visual perception independent of motor ability. It’s especially helpful with those who have learning, cognitive, or physical disabilities. Though it was created for children, it has proven to be effective with adults, and it’s approved for ages three and up.  It evaluates five categories of visual perception: visual memory, spatial relationship, visual closure, figure-ground, and visual discrimination.

3. Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS)

The Assessment of Motor and Process Skills is an observational assessment of activities of daily living (ADL). It evaluates a person’s process and motor skills while also assessing their ability to perform instrumental or complex ADLs. It’s the most thorough assessment of ADL available. AMPS results show the amount of observable decreased efficiency, increased physical effort, safety risk, and need for assistance. This assessment includes 20 process skills and 16 motor items.

4. Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT)

The WMFT is a quantitative index using timed and functional tasks to assess upper extremity motor ability. It’s often used for assessing the motor ability of traumatic brain injury and stroke patients to determine their upper extremity motor deficiency and severity.

5. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales

The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales assessment evaluates three domains of adaptive functioning: socialization, daily living skills, and communication. It’s effective for diagnosing and classifying developmental and intellectual disabilities. It’s also popular for other disorders, including brain injury, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and hearing impairments. This assessment is particularly helpful for establishing treatment plans.

6. Functional Independence Measure (FIM) 

The FIM is used to measure the level of a patient’s disability and the assistance required to carry out activities of daily living (ADL). It provides a uniform system of measurement and can be used effectively with conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and orthopedic conditions. 

7. Modified Barthel Index (MBI)

The Modified Barthel Index measures activities of daily living (ADL). It shows the degree of independence a person is currently capable of and identifies the level of assistance they require. It covers activities including walking, transfers, feeding, toilet use, bowel control, bladder control, grooming, dressing, bathing, and climbing stairs.

8. Routine Task Inventory-Expanded (RTI-E)

This partially-standardized, evidence-based assessment tool assesses cognitive abilities based on routine daily activities. It takes 25 activities of daily living (ADL) and divides them into four subscales, including communication, work readiness, physical, and community scales. An assessment of functional cognition is based on direct observation.

9. Stroke Impact Scale (SIS)

The SIS was designed to assess the outcomes of a stroke, including hand function, strength, mobility, communication, participation, memory and thinking, emotion, and activities of daily living (ADL). It’s a self-reported and stroke-specific health status assessment.

10. Berg Balance Scale 

The Berg Balance Scale is a standardized measurement tool designed to assess balance in elderly individuals. It measures cognition, pain, fatigue, and other issues. This tool includes 14 activities to challenge a person’s balance in a variety of positions and movements, including going from sitting to standing and static to dynamic.

11. Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA)

The POMA, also known as the Tinetti Balance and Gait Scale, was created for older adults to measure gait and balance clinically. The assessment evaluates 16 items in total, including things like step symmetry and continuity, straightness of the path of travel while trying to walk a straight line, gait initiation, and step length and height. Low scores indicate a higher risk for falling, so this information is invaluable for determining if a support plan is required.

12. Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living

The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living, commonly known as the Katz ADL, assesses functional status as a measurement of a client’s ability to perform ADLs independently. It evaluates six functions: dressing, toileting, continence, transferring, feeding, and bathing. The assessment can be used to provide a baseline and can identify activities requiring a support plan.

13. Jacobs Inventory of Functional Skills (JIFS)

This assessment aims to show both what a person can do now and what they could be capable of doing with support, encouragement, and intervention. The Jacobs Inventory of Functional Skills is a non-standardized assessment designed for use with people who are developmentally delayed. It includes a section of life skills to assist the therapist in providing ongoing encouragement for functional skills attainment and a foundational skills section that helps a therapist identify any physiological cause for limited skills.

14. The Mann Assessment of Swallowing Ability (MASA)

This assessment was designed to be used in bedside evaluations to assess swallowing functions. There are 24 areas that are evaluated to determine a patient’s swallowing ability to assist with determinations regarding fluid and diet intake.

OT Assessment Tools for a Variety of Needs

There are a lot of different occupational assessment tools available, and each has its own purpose and benefits. It’s always a good idea to take a look at what is available to see if your patients might benefit from one that you don’t currently use. The assessments we’ve included here are favorites of many occupational therapists.

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