Instrumental of Activities of Daily Living Scale

Today’s post is part of our series, The Encompass Way. Here, we’ll go over many of the steps involved in setting up a comprehensive care plan, which helps us t provide seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.

home care omahaPhysicians Choice Private Duty professionals conduct a comprehensive in-home assessment for each of our clients. Each assessment looks at a client’s current psychological, environmental, functionality and medical status, helping us develop a written plan of care and coordinate the health care providers and family members who are responsible for the execution of the plan of care.

Part of determining a client’s functionality status is to use the Instrumental of Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale. Although IADLs are not essential for fundamental functioning, they do allow a person live a more independent and fulfilling life.

Below is an adaption of of M.P. Lawton and E.M. Brody’s IADL scale via the Abrams Center.

Index of Activities of Daily Living


Circle the scoring point for the statement that most closely corresponds to the patient’s current functional ability for each task. The examiner should complete the scale based on information directly from the patient, the patient’s family and any other caregivers and recent records.


Ability to use telephone

    • 0 = Does not use telephone at all


    • 1 = Dials a few well-known numbers


    • 1 = Answers the phone, but does not dial


    • 1 = Operates telephone on own initiative



    • 0 = Completely unable to shop


    • 0 = Needs to be accompanied on any shopping trip


    • 0 = Shops independently for small purchases


    • 1 = Takes care of all shopping needs independently


Food preparation

    • 0 = Needs to have meals prepared and served


    • 0 = Heats and serves prepared meals, or prepares meals but does not maintain adequate diet


    • 0 = Prepares adequate meals if supplied with ingredients


    • 1 = Plans, prepares and serves adequate meals independently



    • 0 = Does not participate in any housekeeping


    • 1 = Needs help with all home maintenance tasks


    • 1 = Performs light daily tasks but cannot maintain acceptable level of cleanliness


    • 1 = Performs light daily tasks such as dishwashing and bed making


    • 1 = Maintains house alone or with occasional assistance



    • 0 = All laundry must be done by others


    • 1 = Launders small items


    • 1 = Does personal laundry completely


Mode of transportation

    • 0 = Does not travel at all


    • 0 = Travel limited to taxi or automobile when assisted/accompanied by another


    • 1 = Arranges own travel, but does not otherwise use public transportation


    • 1 = Travel independently on public transportation or drives own car


Responsibility for own medications

    • 0 = Is not capable of dispensing own medication


    • 0 = Takes responsibility if medication is prescribed in advance in separate dosages


    • 1 = Is responsible for taking medication in correct dosages at correct time


Ability to handle finances

    • 0 = Incapable of handling money


    • 1 = Manages day-to-day purchases, but needs help with banking, major purchases, etc.


    • 1 = Manages financial matters independently (budgets, writes checks, pays rent, pays bills, goes to the bank, collects, keeps track of income, etc.)



Add the total of the points circled. The total score may range from 0-8. A lower score indicates a higher level of dependence.


Index of Activities of Daily Living

Currently serving Omaha and surrounding areas, all Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

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