Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Monitoring Functional Status in Hospitalized Older Adults

Wallace, Meredith PhD, APRN, BC; Shelkey, Mary PhD, ARNP

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: April 2008 - Volume 108 - Issue 4 - p 64–71
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000314811.46029.3d
FEATURE: How To try this

The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living can help nurses detect subtle changes in health and prevent functional decline.

Overview Created 45 years ago, the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living has shown itself to be an important tool in measuring an older adult's capacity to care for her- or himself. When a nurse using the tool notes a diminishment in the patient's ability to perform any of six activities—bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, transferring, or remaining continent—further assessment may uncover a reversible cause, such as a chronic or acute condition requiring treatment. A video demonstrating the use of the Katz index is available for free online at

Use of the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living may uncover the first signs of treatable illness.

Meredith Wallace is an associate professor at the Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT, and Mary Shelkey is a geriatrics specialist at Virginia Mason Medical Center, in Seattle.

Contact author: Meredith Wallace,

The authors of this article have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity. The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living is reproduced with the permission of the Gerontological Society of America.

How to Try This is a three-year project funded by a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University's College of Nursing in collaboration with AJN. This initiative promotes the Hartford Institute's geriatric assessment tools, Try This: Best Practices in Nursing Care to Older Adults: The series will include articles and corresponding videos, all of which will be available for free online at Nancy A. Stotts, EdD, RN, FAAN (, and Sherry A. Greenberg, MSN, APRN, BC, GNP (, are coeditors of the print series. The articles and videos are to be used for educational purposes only.

Routine use of Try This approaches or tools may require formal review and approval by your employer.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.