A one-point decline on the FIM scale, in this case from 5.29 to 4.09, represents a change in the amount of care required, Mann said. A decline from 5 to 4, for example, represents a change from "supervision only" to "minimal assist," he noted.
UB researchers are following both groups to monitor differences in functional status and health-related expenditures over time. "Low-cost assistive technology and environmental interventions may prevent and postpone morbidity in the frail elderly," Mann said. "As our aging population grows, obtaining definitive answers on the usefulness and cost effectiveness of these interventions become increasingly important."
Additional researchers on the study were Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Ph.D., of the School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston; Linda Fraas and Machiko Tomita, Ph.D., of the UB Department of Occupational Therapy, and Carl V. Granger, M.D., of the Center for Functional Assessment Research in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The research was supported by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the AARP Andrus Foundation.