Photograph of a health professional with stethoscope assessing an older woman who is laughing; photo source: Administration on Aging, DHHS Competency Demonstration

Assessment Competency

Use appropriate assessments for the functional, physical, cognitive, psychological, social, and spiritual status of older adults.

A competency demonstration provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate that you have developed one or more of the Competencies for Working with Older Adults. Presentation: Competencies for Working with Older Adults

Demonstrate your Assessment Competency by completing one of the following projects. We have provided you with a choice of projects. Choose one project. We do not expect you to do them all! 

If you are using this CD-ROM for self-study, completing a competency demonstration gives you an end product that you can share with others for professional purposes, such as in a portfolio for employment application or as a demonstration of meeting a professional goal for an annual review. Once you have completed the competency demonstration, wait for at least 3 days and then use the criteria to evaluate your own work. Alternatively, you could ask another person to use the evaluation criteria and discuss your work with you.

If you are using this CD-ROM as part of an organized course or workshop, consult your course leader regarding how to turn in your completed competency demonstration.

 Picture of pencil and checklist Work Through a Video Case Study

Watch the Functional Assessment Video[Used by permission.]

  • Watch for areas overlooked by the health care providers in the video.

Now, watch the same video again.

  • Using the Functional Assessment Screening Tool for Older Adults, perform a functional assessment on "Carl", the man who is the main character in the video. If you are unable to assess an aspect, from the data in the video, just note that on your assessment form.
  • Identify a screening tool for older adults that would be appropriate for use with this man if you were to become involved in his care. State your rationale for choosing that particular screening tool for him. We do not expect you to use this screening tool, since you are unable to interact with Carl. Just recommend a screening tool that would be useful, given what you see in the video. 
  • Propose three interventions appropriate to Carl's actual or potential needs.
  • Identify two health care disciplines that are not evident in the video but should be involved with Carl's care. State your reasons for your choices.

Prepare a short paper  (maximum five double-spaced pages) that discusses the five items bulleted above. Attach your functional assessment. The functional assessment is not included in the five pages.


  • Write a maximum of five pages, double-spaced. (Functional assessment does not count in the five pages.)
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work. 

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Paper discusses at least five issues missed or overlooked by the health care providers who interacted with the man in the video.
  • Completed functional assessment is attached and accurate.
  • Rationale for selecting the recommended screening tool is presented clearly and convincingly.
  • Paper describes three appropriate interventions that are specific to the man's actual or potential needs.
  • Paper identifies two other types of health care providers that should be involved in the man's care, with clear and convincing rationale.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Complete a Health History and Physical Assessment

If you take an assessment course that requires you to complete a health history and physical assessment, you can use that course assignment for the older adult assessment competency demonstration, by following these instructions.

Complete a health history and physical examination on a person who is age 65 or older. Use any systematic approach (e.g., head-to-toe or functional patterns) in your assessment and documentation.

During the health history or physical assessment, use at least one assessment tool designed for older adults (one that you select specifically for this individual).

During the health history and physical assessment, incorporate appropriate environmental and communication adaptations for the specific needs of this individual. (For example: accommodations for hearing and/or vision deficits or appropriate room temperature)

Write a brief paper (no more than three double-spaced pages) that provides your rationale for the selected assessment tool and discusses the kinds of environmental and communication adaptations that you made. Provide the rationale for making those adaptations. Attach your written health history, your documentation from the physical examination, and the completed assessment tool that you selected. The attached health history, documentation from the physical examination, and assessment tool are not included in the three pages.

CONFIDENTIALITY ALERT !!! Be sure that you omit ALL identifying patient information. Providing patient identifiers will automatically result in you not passing this competency demonstration.

In some health assessment courses, students are required to videotape a health history and physical examination. You can use that assignment for this Assessment Competency demonstration if you interview an older adult and include the additional items described above. In this case, the videotape will provide identifying information, so you must ask your interviewee to sign a HIPPA Waiver. If your interviewee grants written permission on the HIPPA Waiver, you then may give a videotape of your history and physical assessment to your course leader or person you choose to evaluate your work instead of attaching a written health history and documentation of the physical examination. If you have a videotape of only the physical examination, supply the written history as well. In either case, you still need to write the brief paper and attach the completed assessment tool. 

What to Submit Format Options (If two bulleted items are listed, choose one of them.)
Health History
  • Written health history
  • Videotape of health history (and HIPPA waiver)
Physical Examination
  • Written documentation of findings
  • Videotape of physical examination (and HIPPA waiver)
Assessment Tool Selected for Your Older Adult Interviewee
  • Paper copy of completed assessment tool
Brief Paper
  • Paper copy 


  • Use the table above to be sure you have completed all the parts of this competency demonstration.
  • For your brief paper, write a maximum of three pages, double-spaced.
  • Maintain confidentiality by omitting identifying information.
  • If you include a videotape, include a paper copy of a signed HIPPA waiver.
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work.

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Health history and physical examination are completed in a systematic fashion on a person who is age 65 or older.
  • The written materials and screening tool do not convey patient identifying information.
  • If a videotape is included, the signed HIPPA waiver is provided.
  • Completed screening tool selected for this individual is attached.
  • Rationale for selecting the screening tool is clear and convincing.
  • Environmental and communications adaptations were made appropriately.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation, are accurate.
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