PROMIS Physical Function 10-Item Short Form for Older Adults in an Emergency Setting

G W Conner Fox, BA, Sandra Rodriguez, MPH, Laura Rivera-Reyes, MPH, George Loo, DrPH, Ariela Hazan, BS, Ula Hwang, MD, MPH

Contributing GEDC Faculty

Ula Hwang


Dr. Ula Hwang is the Medical Director for Geriatric Emergency Medicine at New York University and a core investigator at the GRECC (Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center) at the James J. Peters Bronx VAMC. Her research focuses on improving the quality of care older adults receive in the ED setting that ranges from observational studies of analgesic safety and effectiveness in older patients to multi-center implementation science studies of geriatric emergency care interventions. Hwang currently co-PIs the Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative and is the PI on the Geriatric Emergency care Applied Research (GEAR) network.



Functional status in older adults predicts hospital use and mortality, and offers insight into independence and quality of life. The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) was developed to improve and standardize patient-reported outcomes measurements. The PROMIS Physical Function (PROMIS PF) 10-Item Short Form was not created specifically for older adults. By comparing PROMIS with the Katz Index of Activities of Daily Living (Katz), we evaluated PROMIS for measurement of physical function versus general function in an older adult population seen in the ED.


A total of 357 completed both function surveys. PROMIS PF and Katz have a modest positive correlation (r = .50, p < .01). Mean PROMIS PF scores within Katz scoring ranges for minimal (43, SD = 10), moderate (32, SD = 7), and severe (24, SD = 7) impairment fell within respective PROMIS PF scoring ranges (severe = 14–29, moderate = 30–39, mild = 40–45), indicating convergence. PROMIS identified impairment in 3× as many patients as did Katz, as PROMIS assesses vigorous physical function (eg, running, heavy lifting) not queried by Katz. However, PROMIS does not assess select activities of daily living (ADLs; eg, feeding, continence) important for assessment of function in older adults.


There is a modest correlation between PROMIS and Katz. PROMIS may better assess physical function than Katz, but is not an adequate replacement for assessment of general functional status in older adults

Full Article at The Journals of Gerontology

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