Assessment of capacity in older adults project survey

Findings show the ABA/APA psychologist handbook to be useful for clinical evaluations, legal and forensic evaluations and student training

In February, the Office of Aging distributed an online survey to a sample of individuals who requested Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Psychologists (PDF, 1MB) (2008). The goal of the survey was to gather information about: a) how and in what setting the handbook has been used, b) whether it has been helpful and c) to identify interest in future training opportunities in capacity assessment of older adults. The response rate was 22 percent (125 respondents out of 564 total recipients with valid email addresses), with nearly 40 percent in independent/group practice, 20 percent VA settings and 10 percent in each of academic or other hospital setting.

The primary results were as follows:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents reported referring to the handbook at least several times yearly or more, while 73 percent reported using the handbook to assist with clinical evaluations, 42 percent for student/intern training and 41 percent for legal or forensic evaluations. 

  • 84 percent of respondents recommended the handbook to colleagues or students. 

  • 67 percent reported it to be “very helpful.”

  • The greatest areas of interest for further training were independent living/placement decisions and financial capacity assessment.

Respondents were also asked if they would be interested in receiving training to enable them to serve as a trainer on capacity assessment of older adults for others in their state and 54 percent responded affirmatively.

Planning for next steps, based on the information collected, is currently underway.