"Residents are checked routinely to see how they function doing these basic daily activities. Some loss of function may be expected in the elderly. If they are in poor health or if they are ill (like if they have pneumonia, an infection, a recent injury, or a chronic problem like asthma that has flared-up), they may have a temporary loss of function. Sudden or rapid loss of one or more of these basic daily tasks could mean the resident needs medical attention."
Why is this important?: "Most residents value being able to take care of themselves. It is important that nursing home staff encourage residents to do as much as they can for themselves. In some cases, it may take more staff time to allow residents to do these tasks than to do the tasks for them. Residents who still do these basic daily activities with little help may feel better about themselves and stay more active. This can affect their health in a good way. When people stop taking care of themselves, it may mean that their health has gotten worse. The resident's ability to perform daily functions is important in maintaining their current health status and quality of life. Some residents will lose function in their basic daily activities even though the nursing home provides good care."
Taken from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services: Nursing Home Information for Consumers