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Validation of a functional screening instrument for dementia in an elderly sri lankan population: comparison of modified bristol and blessed activities of daily living scales

S Umayal1, M Kulathunga2, S Somaratne3, S Srikanth4, S Kathriarachchi2 and Ranil De Silva1*

Author Affiliations

1 Dept of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

2 Dept of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

3 Dept of Botany, Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Sri Lanka

4 Neurology unit, Apollo Hospital, Colombo-05, Sri Lanka

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:268  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-268

Published: 26 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Cognitive tests have been used in population surveys as first stage screens for dementia but are biased by education. However functional ability scales are less biased by education than the cognitive scale and thus can be used in screening for dementia.

Objective

To validate Activities of Daily Living (ADL) scale appropriate for use in assessing the presence of dementia in an elderly population living in care homes in Sri Lanka.

Method

Sinhalese version of the modified Bristol and Blessed scale was administered to subjects aged 55 years and above residing in 14 randomly selected elders' homes. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) was used to determine the cut-off scores of both the scales.

Results

Based on the ROC analysis, optimal cut off score of the modified Bristol scale was 20 with a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 74.2% and the area under the curve 0.933(95% CI: 0.871-0.995) while the optimal cut off score of the modified Blessed scale was 10.5 with a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 71% and the area under the curve 0.892 (95% CI: 0.816-0.967).

Conclusion

The findings confirm that both the scales can be used in screening for dementia in the elderly living in care homes in Sri Lanka.