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Patient satisfaction in performing activities of daily living (ADL) was assessed by using a self-administered questionnaire modified from the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). The HAQ includes questions to determine a patient's degree of difficulty and need for help and assistive devices in ADL. A modification of the HAQ (MHAQ) was developed to include questions concerning perceived patient satisfaction regarding the same ADL, along with perceived change in degree of difficulty. In order to add additional questions while maintaining the length of the questionnaire in a format suitable in routine care, the number of ADL included in the MHAQ was reduced from 20 to 8. Information regarding degree of difficulty derived from 8 questions in the MHAQ is comparable with that derived from 20 questions in the HAQ. The response of a patient that a specific activity is associated with difficulty in functional capacity was not inevitably associated with the absence of patient satisfaction; 43.7% of patients responding "with some difficulty" and 19.1% of patients responding "with much difficulty" expressed satisfaction with their functional capacity. A major determinant of expression of patient satisfaction was perceived change in difficulty: 81.4% of patients noting that their function was "less difficult now," in contrast to 16.9% of patients responding "more difficult now," expressed satisfaction. These studies suggest that data regarding patient satisfaction and perceived change in difficulty can be assessed to more completely characterize patients' functional status in ADL.