A retrospective analysis of Short Orientation-Memory-Concentration (OMC) and Lawton's IADL data was performed to assess the association between instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and a rating of cognitive impairment, and to test whether IADL measures can be used to screen for dementia. The study analyzed data from 1,095 elderly community residents who were regarded as potentially benefiting from care coordination. Three IADL items (telephone use, self-medication, and handling finances) were statistically associated with cognitive impairment (OMC cutoff 10/11), independent of age and sex. An IADL indicator based on these items had only modest power in predicting cognitive impairment, its highest sensitivity being 0.71. Specificity was 0.75 at this point, but increased to 0.97 if higher indicator scores were used to define a positive result. In conclusion, the usefulness of an IADL indicator seems limited to ruling out further cognitive assessment rather than positively identify those with dementia. © 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
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