How to Assess Independent Living Skills

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Assessing independent living skills in adults and adolescents requires the completion of a scale, called the "Independent Skills Assessment Scale." This scale looks at 11 general areas and is applicable to any age group. The scale can also be used with disabled individuals and can help point to where skills need polishing. Some use the scale to determine if an individual can transition out of a group home or nursing facility into an independent or semi-independent living situation; others use it to measure progress or to determine what special services an individual needs. This article will provide a brief overview of the Independent Skills Assessment Scale, some tips for administering it and information about scoring.

1 Understand that the assessment

Understand that the assessment has 11 main sections. The sections are money management/consumer awareness, food management, personal appearance and hygiene, health, housekeeping, housing, transportation, educational planning, job seeking skills, job maintenance skills, emergency and safety skills, knowledge of community resources, interpersonal skills, legal skills, and pregnancy prevention/parenting and child care.

2 Know that a proper assessment

Know that a proper assessment requires both direct observation and an interview.

3 Score

Score by marking in the designated boxes. For each parameter, the assessor can mark one of the following boxes: “Independent," “Assistance Needed,” Functionally Incapable” or “Not Applicable."

4 Provide additional detail

Provide additional detail. Place a letter in the box to indicate the type and degree of assistance necessary to help the individual perform the task. The options are verbal prompt (V), gestural prompt (G), physical assistance (P), refusal (R) or functionally incapable (FI).

5 Determine the score

Determine the score. Count the number of items that you marked “Independent” in each section. Then take the number of items in the section and subtract any marked “Not Applicable.” Finally, divide the number marked “Independent” by the second number to get a score for the section.

Christe Bruderlin-Nelson's work is in over 50 print publications and all over the Web. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers, the Association of Healthcare Journalists and the American Medical Writers Association.