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Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities (Silver Book)

Barthel Index – activities of daily living (modified)

Barthel Index – activities of daily living (modified)

The Barthel Index is a simple to administer tool for assessing self care and mobility activities of daily living. It is widely used in geriatric assessment settings. Reliability, validity and overall utility are rated as good to excellent. Information is gained from observation, self report or informant report. It takes approximately 5/10 minutes to complete if the observational method is used.262

Guidelines for scoring:

  • The index should be used as a record of what a patient does, not as a record of what a patient could do

  • The main aim is to establish degree of independence from any help, physical or verbal, however minor and for whatever reason

  • The need for supervision renders the patient not independent

  • Usually the patient's performance over the preceding 24/48 hours is important, but occasionally longer periods will be relevant

  • Middle categories imply that the patient supplies over 50% of the effort

  • Use of aids to be independent is allowed.

Maximum score is 100. Low scores on individual items highlight areas of need.

Barthel Index

Reprinted with permission. Mahoney FI, Bethel D. Functional evaluation: the Bethel Index. Maryland State Med J 1965;14:56–61

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