In medicine, ADL stands for "activities of daily life," tasks that
humans must perform every day to survive and stay healthy. Lists of ADLs
vary, but they generally include the following:
- dressing (can the person change clothes without help?)
- eating (can the person eat without assistance, even if the food
has already been prepared?)
- ambulating (can the patient get from place to place, whether by
walking or using a cane, walker, or wheelchair?)
- toileting (can the patient use the toilet by himself/herself?)
- hygiene (can the person take a shower, brush his/her teeth,
Doctors, physical therapists, and
psychologists often assess ADLs so that they can judge the
severity of a patient's illness and recommend the proper level of care.
A patient who has trouble with even one ADL generally needs frequent or constant care in a setting such as a nursing home.