Sixty-two percent of adults 65 years and older have limitations with basic or complex activities.  Older adults can pose unique challenges for clinicians due to their sedentary lifestyle and potential for complex medical history. Rehabilitation professionals are experts in movement science and should play an integral role in prescription of appropriate physical activity to ensure maximal levels of success with older adults.  In order to do this, a thorough functional assessment is necessary to identify the impairments that are most likely causing the activity limitation or participation restriction.  The course content will provide you with a better understanding of the available evidence-based functional assessment tools available to evaluate your patient for strength or balance deficits affecting their functional status.

Level of Instruction:  Intermediate

Course Objectives

  • Identify how disablement models can be used to describe functional status
  • Identify the appropriate method of choosing the “best” functional assessment tool
  • Identify the test and measures to assess strength and balance in older adults
  • Identify best practices regarding documentation and goal setting in geriatric rehabilitation

Course Agenda

  • Using Disablement Models to Describe Function
  • Functional Assessment Tools: a. Which one to choose? b. Strength assessment c. Balance and Fall Risk assessment
  • Documentation and Goal Setting in Geriatric Rehabilitation: a. Integration of examination findings b. Skilled justification c. Goal setting


  • Nicole Dawson, PT, PhD, GCS

Nicole Dawson, PT, PhD, GCS is an Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida.  She is a Board Certified Geriatric Physical Therapist with over 13 years of clinical experience along with a PhD in Adult Development & Aging Psychology from Cleveland State University.  Her current area of research includes developing non-pharmacological interventions to improve functional and psychosocial outcomes in patients with dementia, identifying predictors of falls in older adults with cognitive impairment, as well as gaining a better understanding of the illness experience of individuals with dementia.  Dr. Dawson has been published in peer-reviewed journals including The Gerontologist and has presented at numerous local and national conferences on the subject.  She is passionate about the bettering the treatment and care of these patients and is dedicated to assisting students and clinicians in gaining skills and knowledge to better help these patients maximize their potential.


Contact Hours: 1.5

Price: $49


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