Functional Independence Measure

Construct: Care-recipient functioning in an array of domains

Independent seniorDescription of Measure: The severity of care-recipient functioning and impairments may be determined with the Functional Independence Measure (FIMSM; Uniform Data Set for Medical Rehabilitation, 1996). The FIMSM contains 13 items that assess motor functioning (eating, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting, bowel and bladder control, transfers, and locomotion) and 5 items that measure cognitive functioning (communication and social cognition). Each item is rated on an ordinal scale ranging from 1 (Total Assistance) to 7 (Complete Independence). Lower scores indicate more functional deficits. The FIMSM has demonstrated considerable validity and reliability (Chau, Daler, & Andre, 1994; Crewe & Dijkers, 1995; Dodds, Martin, Stolov, & Deyo, 1993; Granger, Cotter, Hamilton & Fiedler, 1993). A version of the FIM is available for use in telephone interviews. There is also a version that has been developed for use with children (WeeFIM; Granger, Hamilton, & Kayton, 1989). Ideally, raters receive expert training for proper use of the FIM. It is widely used in most accredited medical rehabilitation programs and associated outcome research.


Chau, N., Daler, S., Andre, J. M., & Patris, A. (1994). Inter-rater agreement of two functional independence scales: The Functional Independence Measure (FIMSM) and a subjective uniform continuous scale. Disability and Rehabilitation, 16(2), 63-71.

Crewes, N., & Dijkers, M. (1995). Functional assessment. In L. A. Cushman & M. Scherer (Eds.), Psychological assessment in medical rehabilitation (pp. 101 – 144). Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.

Dodds, T. A., Martin, D. P., Stolov, W. C., & Deyo R. A. (1993). A validation of the Functional Independence Measure and its performance among rehabilitation inpatients. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 74, 531-536.

Granger, C., Cotter, A. C., Hamilton, B., & Fiedler, R. C. (1993). Functional assessment scales: a study of persons after stroke. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 74, 133–138.

Granger, C., Hamilton, B. B., & Kayton, R. (1989). Guide for the use of the Functional Independence Measure (WeeFIM) of the Uniform Data Set for Medical Rehabilitation. Buffalo, NY: Research Foundation of the State University of New York.

Uniform Data Set For Medical Rehabilitation (1996). Guide for the use of the uniform data set for medical rehabilitation, Version 5.0. Buffalo, NY: State University of New York at Buffalo Research Foundation.