Empowering occupational therapy practitioners with a playbook of functional tasks to use with their geriatric clients

Modified Multiple Errands Test

Modified Multiple Errands Test

A couple of years ago, I noticed a drastic increase in the clients I was seeing who had cognitive impairments which were limiting their ability to engage in ADLs, IADLs, functional mobility, and leisure/social activities. I had addressed cognitive impairments throughout my career but it was never the focus of my practice. I needed to learn more about assessing and treating cognitive impairment and I needed to learn it yesterday.

While I worked hard and studied cognition on my own, I was also lucky enough to attend the AOTA Annual Conference in 2018 so I attended as many classes on cognition as I could. Every class I attended mentioned the Multiple Errands Test. I got home from the conference and immediately looked up the test and modified it to use as an intervention with my clients. I use it as means of assessing (through skilled observation) and developing cognition skills including attention, communicating with people in the environment, visual scanning and processing, short-term/working memory, and executive functioning skills. Give it a try with your clients and let us know how it goes!


Assess and functional cognition skills


Good for 1:1 treatment – Great for co-treating with PT for client who require mobility assistance – Good for Concurrent/Group treatment for clients with good safety awareness and mobility

Time Frame

15-60 minutes

Materials Required

  • 4-5 tasks or locations around facility – Examples: finding a painting on a wall, buying a small item from a gift shop, finding a menu to identify what will be served at upcoming meals, obtaining a specific snack, mailing a letter, etc.         
  • a list of rules for the client to follow – Examples: tasks must be completed in order or by a certain time, the therapist can’t help, the client can’t leave the facility at any time during the task, etc.
  • a small amount of cash if needed for the tasks
  • a bag to carry items if needed for the tasks
  • client’s recommended mobility device


  • Create a list of 4-5 errands for the client to complete around the facility. Include a time frame for completion of the tasks and any rules the client must follow.


  1. Provide the client with the list of errands and any needed supplies to complete tasks. Explain any rules the client must follow to complete the tasks as well as how long the client has in order to complete the tasks.
  2. Monitor the client’s progress from a safe distance. Provide cuing or assistance as needed to ensure safe and successful completion of tasks. Note cuing and assistance provided and which aspects of the task require cuing and assistance.

Special Notes:

This play is a variation of the Multiple Errands Test which was developed for a community setting. In the original test, a therapist gives a client a list of errands to accomplish in a mall which includes multiple stores, spending money, and completing all errands within a specific time frame.

The therapist may write tasks on Popsicle sticks and ask the client to pick sticks from a container to complete. The therapist can specify how many sticks to complete before a set time. Alternately, the client can pick sticks until an allocated time is completed and try to accomplish as many as possible. It may help to color code the sticks according to the time each task requires, distance to the task, or cognitive challenge of each task.


Morrison, T. M., Giles, G. M., Ryan, J. D., Baum, C. M., Dromerick, A. W., Polatajko, H. J., & Edwards, D. F. (2013). Multiple Errands Test–Revised (MET–R): A performance-based measure of executive function in people with mild cerebrovascular accident. American Journal of Occupational Therapy,, 67, 460-468. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.007880

One thought on “Modified Multiple Errands Test

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information! The popsicle sticks are a wonderful and creative way to address functional mobility and cognition! 🙂

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