Cover: Value of Functional Status as a Predictor of Mortality

Value of Functional Status as a Predictor of Mortality

Results of a Prospective Study

Published in: The American Journal of Medicine, v. 93, no. 6, Dec. 1992, p. 663-669

Posted on 1992

by David Reuben, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Susan H. Hirsch, Ron D. Hays

To assess the value of functional status questions in predicting mortality, the authors conducted a 4-year prospective longitudinal follow-up study of functionally impaired community-dwelling elderly persons. By means of a multivariate model, the following baseline characteristics were independently predictive of death: greater dysfunction on a scale of intermediate activities of daily living, male gender, living alone, white race, better quality of social interactions, and age. Initial baseline functional measures were also predictive of follow-up health status perceptions. The assessment of information on physical functioning and the quality of social interactions provides prognostic information regarding mortality. Furthermore, of the independent predictors of death identified in this sample, only functional impairment and living alone are remediable. Whether improving functional status can reduce the risk of mortality remains to be determined.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.