Prognostic validity of the Timed Up and Go test for falls
Falling poses a serious health risk for older adults. To be able to take targeted action, a good prognostic falls assessment is important. However, there is no consensus on which tests are most appropriate in specific situations. Aside from reliability and validity, prognostic validity of tests should be examined. This study considered the prognostic validity of a common test that is easy and fast to perform: the Timed Up and Go test (TUG), in combination with a cognitive and a manual dual-task.
At baseline, 120 older adults performed the TUG 3 times; once in the standard way, once with a manual dual-task (carrying a glass of water), and once with a cognitive dual-task (counting backward in threes from a number between 60 and 100). The tests were performed in random order after a practice run. After this, participants were prospectively followed for 1 year to record fall incidents.
No significant results were found for the regular TUG or the TUG with a manual dual-task. For the TUG with the cognitive dual-task, a significant result was found, from which an appropriate cut-off point could be determined to set sensitivity and specificity of this prognostic test.
The TUG with a cognitive dual-task of counting backwards in threes from a random number between 60 and 100 may be a valid instrument for predicting fall risk in community-dwelling older adults. This modified test shows a better risk prediction than the standard TUG or the TUG with a manual dual-task.
> From: Hofheinz et al., Gerontol Geriatr Med 2 (2017) 2333721416637798. All rights reserved to The Author(s) . Click here for the online summary.