The GAMMA® nursing measure: Its development and testing for nursing utility

  • HJ Loubser
  • JC Bruce
  • D Casteleijn


Background: In the specialised nursing fields of gerontology, oncology, rehabilitation and home-based care where people live with permanent or temporary disabilities, nurses are unable to perform routine and empirical scoring of their patients’ abilities to live independently, because of the lack of valid nursing measures indicating patients’ frailty or vulnerability. These independent living abilities are also referred to as the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
Objectives: To provide nurses with a nursing scale, named the GAMMA, which enables nurses to routinely observe, score and record their patients’ IADLs and to test its nursing utility.
Method: A study with two sequential phases was done. Firstly, descriptive data were collected from key informants, namely a registered social worker and two registered nurses, skilled in caring for disabled persons living in long-term care facilities. The data were analysed using inductive content analysis techniques in order to design and construct the GAMMA nursing scale. In the second study, the utility of the GAMMA was studied by training and testing the application of the GAMMA within a group of registered nurses (n = 5) working in three retirement villages. After four months, focus group interviews were conducted with the registered nurses in order to explore the GAMMA’s nursing utility. Descriptive data were analysed using deductive content analysis techniques.
Results: The outcome of the study provided good results. High levels of agreement between participants confirm the GAMMA’s acceptance, usefulness and confidence as a nursing scale to empirically establish the transition of nursing care between independent living and assisted living.
Conclusion: The GAMMA has the characteristics which allow it to be used routinely as a nursing scale in gerontology, oncology, rehabilitation and home-based care nursing processes.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848