What is the Alzheimer Functional Assessment Tool?

Updated: Nov 13, 2019
  • Author: Norberto Alvarez, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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A simple tool for evaluation of the clinical progression of Alzheimer disease (AD), developed by the Alzheimer team at the Wrentham Developmental Center in Massachusetts, is the Alzheimer Functional Assessment Tool. This tool was designed to record key information on the status of patients with AD and to assist in making decisions concerning the patient's program and residential placement. The information needed to complete the assessment can be obtained by interviewing relatives or caregivers.

Interview the staff on all shifts that work directly with the patient, and find out the patient's behavior and overall activities of daily living (ADLs). The patient's abilities (including skills, problems, and other considerations) are described in the "description of skills" section of the summary sheet. Perform this assessment at the time of diagnosis of AD and every 6 months thereafter or whenever a significant change in status is observed.

The Alzheimer Functional Assessment Tool is appropriate for the follow-up care of individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and AD. A decline in functions documented through this tool can also be used as a diagnostic test; however, the tool was not intended to be used for diagnostic purposes and has never been validated as a diagnostic test. Serial use of this tool can also be useful for evaluating the effects of medications and determining the support needed for these patients.

The Alzheimer Functional Assessment Tool includes the following information:

  • Date

  • Name

  • Activities of daily living

  • Description of skills

  • Toileting

  • Dining

  • Walking/motor

  • Bathing

  • Dressing

  • Personal/oral hygiene

  • Environmental awareness

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