Balance and mobility functional tests in the prediction and prevention of risks of falls in elderly

Paula Maria Machado Arantes Castro Alice Martins de Magalhães Adriana Leite Curcio Cruz Núbia Suely Ribeiro Dutra Reis About the authors

INTRODUCTION:

The prevention of falls in the elderly is a challenge for health professionals. One of the most important aspects for such prevention is early detection of risk factors for falls. Among these, we highlight the declining balance and functional mobility.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the occurrence of falls and associated factors and identify the most suitable cutoff points of balance and functional mobility tests to identify active seniors in the community at risk of falling.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study comprising 127 active seniors in the community in the city of Itabira-MG, Brazil, evaluated for clinical and demographic characteristics and balance and functional mobility tests seated to standing, semi-tandem, step test and gait speed of six meters.

RESULTS:

Prevalence of falls in the previous year was 25.2 %, and 8.6% for recurrent falls. Occurrence of falls was associated only with the gender variable, with a higher chance of falling among women. The cutoff points for tests seated to standing, step test and gait speed was 8.5 seconds, 7.5 seconds and 0.98 m/s, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

The results proved to be important to match the cutoff tests of balance and mobility profile of the population. Without this adjustment, tests have sensitivity and specificity in identifying compromised elderly at risk of falling.

Elderly; Postural Balance; Functional Mobility; Accidental Falls


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