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To assess predictive and discriminant validity and responsiveness of the Functional Recovery Score, a disease-specific health assessment tool.Prospective, consecutive.Six hundred eighty-two elderly patients who sustained a hip fracture were prospectively followed and evaluated by using the Functional Recovery Score at three, six, and twelve months after surgeryThe Functional Recovery Score (FRS) was found to be responsive to change: scores after hip fracture were significantly lower at three months than prefracture, increased significantly from three to six months, and increased slightly between six and twelve months after fracture, consistent with expectation. The FRS had predictive validity: prefracture scores were predictive of death, skilled nursing facility transfer, and rehospitalization within one year of fracture. In addition, the FRS had discriminant validity. Mean scores for the following groups were significantly different from each other at three and six months: (a) patients who were alive, living in the community, and did not require rehospitalization; (b) those who were admitted to a skilled nursing facility; and (c) those who were rehospitalized. Comparison of the FRS with a sex- and age-matched non-hip-fracture population indicated that hip fracture resulted in a 20 percent loss of function within the first year. Reliability testing of telephone interviews of patients as a means of obtaining information indicated very high reliability.The Functional Recovery Score is a reliable method of assessing functional outcome for elderly hip fracture patients.