Normative functional reach values in elderly
The assessment of standing and dynamic balance in hospitalized elderly often forms a key part of physiotherapy assessments. The functional reach test (FRT) forms a part of several well known balance/ falls outcome measures used to assess this population when undergoing rehabilitation. The FRT has been validated as a reliable and predictive outcome measure in elderly groups; however, current normative data is based upon data from only 2 population groups; Australian women and Japanese students. As such, new data is needed to provide more population specific values for community dwelling elderly.
A new study, currently in press in the journal Physiotherapy performed a meta-analysis of over 7000 individual FRT tests from 20 studies, as well as incorporated further original data from 199 participants in the INFINITY study. Results from the meta-analysis and original data were collated and a normative value of FRT was calculated to be 27.2 cm. The authors note that this data does have limitations; mainly that, due to the nature of data analysis, the authors were unable to differentiate between male and female values. Secondly, the authors were also unable to extrapolate data from fallers and non-fallers, which may limit the prognostic value of the FRT in relation to falls.
Although not without its limitations, these data provide the highest level of evidence available providing normative values for FRT in community dwelling elderly. These data may also provide a framework for the standardization of FRT values within other outcomes measures such as the Berg Balance Scale and the Elderly Mobility Scale which, although commonly used together, have different FRT assessment values.
> From: Bohannon et al., Physiotherapy (2017) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the online summary.