The clinical assessment of disability in older persons began as an attempt to evaluate prognosis and service needs of persons with serious functional decrements in the rehabilitation setting. In the last 2 decades, the application of disability assessment has broadened considerably, and it now plays a role in activities ranging from national surveys of the older population to the determination of eligibility for informal and formal care. In population‐based and clinical research studies, describing the functional status of older persons has added a very important dimension to the traditional medical approach, which characterizes persons mainly by the diseases from which they suffer. A great deal of progress in gerontology and geriatrics has undoubtedly been made because researchers turned away from the medical model of disease in order to understand how the overall functional problems of older persons affect the quality of their lives, their need for care, and their prognosis. Although this approach has been and will continue to be highly productive, we must now come full circle and begin to fit together a comprehensive picture that includes both disease and disability. And while we now believe that most disability is caused by diseases and injuries, the intricacies
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1994
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