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What Are "Activities of Daily Living"?

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What are "activities of daily living"?

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[Dr. Kristen Maisano] Activities of daily living are the things that we do absolutely every day from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to bed. So if we took apart our day and we talked about rolling to sit up on the side of the bed and walking to brush our teeth—anywhere from getting in and out of the car, in and out of the bathtub, washing, dressing—anything we need to do every day to make life meaningful. And then we have a different category of ADLs that are called instrumental ADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living. And those are kind of a little bit higher level, so we're talking about grocery shopping and performing work and leisure activities so that we have a holistic view of the person. We want to make sure that not only can you dress and bathe yourself, but are you able to complete the activities that are meaningful to you as well?

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Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.

Kristen Maisano, OTDKristen Maisano, OTD is an occupational therapist and the interim director of Rehabilitation Services for the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. She specializes in evaluating and treating military patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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Comments [3]

Creative blog post . I am thankful for the information . Does anyone know where my assistant might get access to a sample a form example to edit ?

Nov 27th, 2015 8:59am

My ears work fine, but testing with Cognitive Rehab Specialists on S. Pearl found that I only remember 50 percent of new information I hear. When there is competing sound, it goes down to 31 percent. Isn't this an activity of daily living? It prevents me from learning in a classroom most of the time. The good news is we discovered that "repetition through the hands" is also a learning pathway that works for me. Learning that eliminated so much frustration and I want to share this with others. Paula Rhoads

Aug 15th, 2013 6:07pm

The comment at the bottom of the page states, "Most TBIs are mild and can be healed in a matter of weeks." This is contrary to everything I have read about TBI (my son was a Marine who sustained a TBI in Iraq). Even the mildest brain injury can take 18-24 months to completely heal with therapy and regular medical attention. It is for that reason that so many of our Veterans are struggling with TBI to this day. My son sustained a brain injury that resulted in a loss of hearing. The military is "masking" these TBIs as hearing loss, confusion, etc. and NOT actually offering treatment for a brain injury. After 3 deployments and who knows how many blasts he endured, not only was he dealing with PTSD but al so TBI. After her passing, I requested his medical records and found that he was diagnosed with TBI his first deployment...something he never knew. After he was discharged from the Marine Corps., we knew that PTSD was a problem but NEVER knew about the TBI and what issues that created in every day life....5 years out, he took his own life. I will never, ever forgive the USMC and the VA for withholding this critical information. He had no idea why he lacked organizational skills (which he had prior to the military), had loss of memory, and just basic anxiety due to these every day problems....God rest his soul....this is a life that should never have bee lost.

Aug 14th, 2013 7:23pm


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