Assessment of Functional Status

Functional status is a very important indicator of prognosis in almost any medical condition. Clinicians often consider a patient's functional ability when outlining medical treatments. In terminal illness, functional status plays an especially more critical role in evaluation of patients and their overall prognosis.

Multiple scales exist for assessing patients' functional status. Some conditions, such as dementia, may have a specific functional status scale (FAST or Functional Assessment Staging), but in general, theses should be used as guidelines to assess initial functional status of a patient and subsequent his/her decline or improvement over time.

Each of these scales lists functional level in a declining order and provides some guidelines as to when a particular patient may be considered an appropriate hospice candidate in conjunction with other clinical factors.

Some of the common scales used in Hospice and Palliative Care are: