Introduction to administering the Activity Card Sort (ACS-UK) with older people



  Course Leader

Dr Alison Laver-Fawcett 

 Length of course             

One day study day 

 Course Venue

York St John University (but can be delivered to teams on-site)

 Level & Credit

Study Day 

Fees & Funding

Fee £95

Funded places are available

 Course Flier

Download PDF Activity Card Sort (UK version) (PDF,0.4MB)

 Book your place

Further dates TBC

Course Content

The Activity Card Sort was originally developed in the US by Professor Carolyn Baum and it is a well-established self-report outcome measure designed to identify changes in older adults’ participation in instrumental, leisure and social activities. The ACS has greater utility when activities and photograph cards are culturally specific and so Alison Laver-Fawcett and colleagues have developed a United Kingdom version. Each ACS-UK test item comprises a photographed activity card with an activity description underneath. The ACS-UK can be used in practice and / or research. It can inform a client-centred intervention plan for either individual or group interventions based on the participant’s activity preferences and participation levels. It can also be used to understanding the activity preferences for people attending day services or residing in a care home.

Studies undertaken to develop the ACS-UK have established content validity (Laver-Fawcett and Mallinson, 2013), found good clinical utility and acceptable face validity (Laver-Fawcett et al, 2016) and good levels of test-rest and inter-rater reliability. The ACS-UK covers four domains: instrumental activities; low physical demand leisure activities; high physical demand leisure activities; and social – cultural activities. It has three formats (institutional, recovering and community living versions) which use the same 93 activity cards but involve sorting these into different participation categories. Scores are calculated for current activity, previous activity and activities retained. The choice of ACS-UK versions enables application across hospital, community and long-term care settings.

Who should attend?

Occupational therapists, activity co-ordinators, occupational therapy assistants working with older people in any of the following settings: hospitals, day hospitals, nursing homes, residential homes, community services, day services, and / or social groups. The assessment can be used with people with or without a health condition. It is particularly beneficial for use with people with dementia, or neurological conditions such as stroke.

During the course you will be introduced to the three ACS-UK versions. Form A (Institutional), Form B (Recovery) and Form C (Community Living). Each version uses the same set of 93 photograph activity cards, sorted according to the participant’s level of engagement in the activities depicted. These are sorted into different categories for each format of the ACS to enable use across different settings. A choice of ACS-UK versions means that health and social care staff can administer the measure in hospitals (recovery version or institutional version dependent on the nature of the person’s condition), community (recovery or community living versions) and long-term care settings (institutional version).

What will I learn?

In this course participants will be introduced to the assessment and will have the opportunity to role play the administration and scoring of all three versions so they will learn how to give the assessment, score the test and consider the use of information obtained. They will have time to consider and discuss the application of the ACS-UK for their practice, service evaluation and / or research.

What difference will it make to attendees?

Attendees with learn about a new assessment and will have the skills to administer and score all 3 versions of the ACS-UK (institutional, recovery and community Living versions).

What difference will it make to my work?

The assessment could be used to:

  • Inform the development of person-centred individual and group interventions in hospital, community or care home settings.
  • Evaluate individual or group interventions aimed at increasing older people’s activity participation levels.

What difference will it make to my employer or service?

The use of a standardised assessment, underpinned by an evidence base into their service.

The assessment provides detailed profile of a person’s past and current activity engagement facilitating a more person-centred approach to rehabilitation and / or care.

Can be used to assist with service evaluation.

Course Leader Biography

Alison qualified as an occupational therapist in 1986 and has a PhD in Psychology (she developed the Structured Observational Test of Function; 1995). She has worked as a clinician, researcher, educator and professional lead in the UK, and as a researcher and educator in the USA and Canada. Alison was an NHS modernisation manager leading service evaluation and improvement for Older Peoples’ Mental Health Services for 8 years. Her current research relates to the development of the Activity Card Sort – United Kingdom version (ACS-UK), the 2nd edition of the Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF) and ‘Models of Reablement Evaluation: a mixed models evaluation of a complex intervention’ (with colleagues at the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York and funded by the National Institute for Health Research). She is author of ‘Principles of Assessment and Outcome Measurement for Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists: Theory, Skills and Application’ (2007).

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