Nursing school clinical assessment tools

Updated April 17, 2017

During nursing school, students are thoroughly educated in general triage and assessment. They are introduced to different testing and tools to score and assess the well-being and ailments of their patients. Some tools focus on a specific illness, while other can help in detecting elderly patients' living ability, or the mental state of a patient. The tests commonly used in overall health include index scoring and questionnaire tools.

The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living

As patients age, their functional status often declines. This lack of daily functioning may lead to an increase in risk of other health problems. The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living (Katz ADL) measures the ability of a patient to complete daily activities required for healthy survival. These functions include bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring to chairs or bed, continence and feeding. The scoring is based on a scale of one to six, with six equalling fully functional abilities.

The Barthel Index

The Barthel Index is a tool for measuring the return of functional ability through physiotherapy. Although useful in most instances, the Barthel Index is not used in stroke rehabilitation. The Barthel Index scores 10 variables including fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, grooming, toileting, feeding, transferring to a chair or bed, walking, dressing, climbing stairs and bathing.

The Clifton Assessment Procedures for the Elderly

The Clifton Assessment Procedures for the Elderly (CAPE) score the functional impairment of mental and behavioural aspects. CAPE consists of two tests, the Cognitive Assessment Scale (CAS) and the Behavioral Rating Scale (BRS), which are useful in evaluating psychiatric elderly patients. Tests included in the CAPE are information, orientation, mental ability, psychomotor performance, physical disability, communication difficulties and social disturbance tests.

The General Health Questionnaire

Used in clinical, employment and psychiatric fields, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) is an assessment consisting of questions to determine the overall psychological well-being of a patient. The GHQ is a screening used to determine the risk of developing psychiatric disorders and mental health problems, as well as current states of health. It comes in versions with 12, 28, 30, or 60 items, with 28 items (GHQ28) being the most common.

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About the Author

Sarah Trevino has been a freelance writer since 2005 and specializes in food and wine, television, home and garden, and weddings. She has written for numerous websites and publications, including OMG!, Procter & Gamble and various blogs. Trevino holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a graduate certificate in health and wellness.