Author(s): Bischoff HA, Sthelin HB, Monsch AU, Iversen MD, Weyh A,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: physical mobility testing is an essential component of the geriatric assessment. The timed up and go test measures basic mobility skills including a sequence of functional manoeuvres used in everyday life. OBJECTIVES: to create a practical cut-off value to indicate normal versus below normal timed up and go test performance by comparing test performance of community-dwelling and institutionalised elderly women. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 413 community-dwelling and 78 institutionalised mobile elderly women (age range 65-85 years) were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. MEASUREMENTS: timed up and go test duration, residential and mobility status, age, height, weight and body mass index were documented. RESULTS: 92\% of community-dwelling elderly women performed the timed up and go test in less than 12 seconds and all community-dwelling women had times below 20 seconds. In contrast only 9\% of institutionalised elderly women performed the timed up and go test in less than 12 seconds, 42\% were below 20 seconds, 32\% had results between 20 and 30 seconds and 26\% were above 30 seconds. The 10(th)-90(th) percentiles for timed up and go test performance were 6.0-11.2 seconds for community-dwelling and 12.7-50.1 seconds for institutionalised elderly women. When stratifying participants according to mobility status, the timed up and go test duration increased significantly with decreasing mobility (Kruskall-Wallis-test: p<0.0001). Linear regression modelling identified residential status (p<0.0001) and physical mobility status (p<0.0001) as significant predictors of timed up and go performance. This model predicted 54\% of total variation of timed up and go test performance. CONCLUSION: residential and mobility status were identified as the strongest predictors of timed up and go test performance. We recommend the timed up and go test as a screening tool to determine whether an in-depth mobility assessment and early intervention, such as prescription of a walking aid, home visit or physiotherapy, is necessary. Community-dwelling elderly women between 65 and 85 years of age should be able to perform the timed up and go test in 12 seconds or less.
This article was published in Age Ageing
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research