Frequently Asked Questions



How long does it take to complete an assessment using the FSAS-ED tool?

Pilot studies conducted in various clinical settings showed that the total time required to complete an assessment using the FSAS-ED tool and make the necessary recommendations varied between 30 minutes and two hours (with the average time being 82 minutes).

It is generally agreed that assessing a “simple” case takes about 45 minutes while the assessment of more “complex” cases (signs of cognitive impairment, no accompanying close relative available to confirm information, the need to expand data collection to persons outside the emergency department, etc.), took roughly 90 minutes.

Occupational therapists who use the FSAS-ED tool follow a learning curve as they become familiar with the tool. As with any new tool, the first few times it is used, it takes a bit longer and requires a bit more work, but with perseverance, occupational therapists feel more and more comfortable with it. Feedback shows that it takes about ten times using the tool before OTs feel comfortable using it.


What other standardized assessment tools are used as complements to FSAS-ED?

It should be noted that the FSAS-ED tool is not a screening tool; rather, it belongs to the “assessments” category.

The assessments most often performed in emergency departments alongside the FSAS-ED are screening assessments (ISAR, PRISMA-7) and cognitive impairment screening assessments (Folstein and its related versions, MOCA).

For a more complete response, see the Assessment tools section.


What topics will be covered in upcoming research studies on OT in the emergency department?

The next phase of our research will involve an analysis of the benefits (economic, organizational and human) of the inclusion of occupational therapists in interdisciplinary teams in emergency departments for the purpose of assessing the functional status of at-risk seniors.


How can I obtain a copy of the FSAS-ED assessment tool?

If you want to obtain the user guide for the FSAS-ED assessment tool or the score sheets, please complete the contact form.


Is continuing education on the practice of occupational therapy in the emergency department available?

Training on functional status assessment of seniors in the emergency department (FSAS-ED) is offered as part of occupational therapist continuing education through the Programme d’ergothérapie of Université de Montréal. Training is offered in French but also in English (the latter upon request for groups of people) by Nathalie Veillette, erg. Ph.D. at the École de réadaptation; please note that it is possible to attend by videoconference.

During this training session, participants will familiarise themselves with the professional practice of occupational therapists in emergency departments. They will also learn more about current practices regarding the assessment of functional status using the FSAS-ED tool.

Click on the following link to access the continuing education program and register:

This training can be arranged in a clinical setting (a minimum number of participants is required, however). For more information, please contact Marc Rouleau, head of continuing education at 514 343-6111 ext. 0242 or at


How was the occupational therapist received by the medical team at the emergency department during the implementation of the pilot project?

As with any innovative measure, we had to prepare the ground by engaging in discussions with the people in charge and listening to their fears and reservations, as well as the needs of the emergency department team members.

It would be false to assert that the implementation of occupational therapy services has not faced a certain amount of resistance in most settings. In certain settings, resistance was such that it cut short the implementation project. In fact, when circumstances don’t lend themselves to change, it is best to begin working on the circumstances themselves by encouraging information sharing and knowledge transmission, which are likely to modify perceptions. However, during the implementation of the pilot project, once the OT’s role was well established within the interdisciplinary team, the emergency department responders greatly appreciated the OT’s contribution and called on the occupational therapist’s expertise to assess and intervene with seniors experiencing a loss of autonomy.

To better understand the implementation process of OT services, many resources can prove useful (see the Consulting activities for OT services implementation in the emergency department section)