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I recently received a call from an experienced MES with a specialization in aquatic fitness. She was interested in the incorporation of functional movement patterns into her aquatic fitness classes for seniors. As we discussed which movements might work best for the general senior fitness population I asked if she included an individual functional assessment in the intake process for new aquatic participants. She reported her facility did not because there were no functional assessments she found that were short and easy to perform as well as the the assessments were free to aquatic exercise participants. She needed a quick assessment that could easily be performed poolside and would take no more than 10 minutes. I immediately recommended the Functional Status Index (FSI). The FSI is more subjective than objective but it does give you an overall view of the client’s functional status in a brief easy to use format. The FSI should take no more than 10-15 minutes to perform. If the assessment you provide is free, as in the case of this MES, then the FSI is the best choice because of its ease of use. Remember, if we assess function at the start of the program, we must reassess function at no greater than 30 day intervals to determine if our program is truly achieving the increase in function capacity we want. You may download a copy of the functional status index by clicking the link below.

We review the step by step procedure for administering the FSI along with eight other functional assessment scales in our Current Topics in Post Rehab DVD. The other functional assessments reviewed on the Current Topics DVD include the 1) Harris Hip Scale (commonly used with total hop replacements); 2) Lysholm’s Scale (knee pathologies); 3) the Ankle Foot Scale (ankle and foot pathologies); 4) the Tinetti Gait and Balance Scale (balance dysfunction), 5) the Shoulder Strength Scale (shoulder pathologies); 6 & 7) and the Oswestry Scales for the lumbar and cervical spines (spinal pathologies). The Current Topics in Post Rehab 2005 DVD is part of our MES and Essentials of Post Rehab Fitness DVD workshops. For info on the MES or Essentials DVD workshops, please click on the link below.

There many functional assessment tools available. We (AAHFRP) have identified the eight we feel are most useful and easy to use for fitness professionals. I recommend you incorporate a functional assessment tool into your post rehab assessment.

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