Importance: Research involving the use of the Allen Cognitive Level Screen (ACLS) in mental health practice has been available for more than 40 yr, yet there has been no comprehensive synthesis and review of this body of literature.
Objective: To review, summarize, compare, and evaluate the existing literature regarding the relationship between the ACLS and the functional and adaptive functional performance of adults living with mental illness.
Data Sources: Searches with no date limits were conducted in the CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ProQuest, and OTseeker databases.
Study Selection and Data Collection: A five-stage scoping review methodology was used to examine peer-reviewed English-language literature reporting on the relationship between ACLS scores and functional and adaptive functional performance of adults with mental illness. Information from 15 studies was charted, collated, and numerically and thematically summarized.
Findings: A positive relationship between ACLS scores and in-the-moment performance was consistently reported. The relationship of ACLS scores to community living performance was less consistent. Methods of assessing performance, complexity of tasks assessed, and timing of assessments affected relationships with cognition as measured by ACLS. Gaps in the literature were identified.
Conclusions and Relevance: Findings raise questions about how, why, and when occupational therapists use the ACLS. Increased examination is needed of what aspects of performance and functional cognition reliably determine people’s ability to live successfully in the community.
What This Article Adds: This article provides the first synthesis of the existing literature on the relationship between ACLS scores and functional and adaptive functional performance of people living with mental illness.