The Uniform Needs Assessment Instrument (UNAI) was developed to systematically assess the continuing care needs of high-risk older adults in response to the 1986 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Based on previous studies, a revised UNAI was tested with 103 hospitalized older adults, comparing usual discharge planning with the UNAI. High interrater reliability was obtained. The UNAI had high (> or = 85%) sensitivity and specificity when comparing needs identification on the UNAI with subjects' reported needs at 10 to 14 days after discharge. Overall, the UNAI was more effective (sensitive and specific).