The goal for this study was to develop a measure of balance appropriate for elderly individuals. In total, 38 patients, ranging in age from 60 to 93 years, and 32 professionals, including nurses, physicians, and physical and occupational therapists were surveyed in three distinct phases to develop the content. Reliability of the measure was assessed by having physical therapists evaulate the videotaped performances of geriatric subjects at two different points in time. The intraclass correlation coefficients measuring the inter and intra rater reliability for the test as a whole were .98 and .99 respectively. The correlation coefficients for the individual items ranged from .71 to .99. In addition, there was a high degree of internal consistency, a Cronbach's alpha of .96, which indicates the movements reflect a single underlying dimension. The scale consists of 14 movements common in everyday life. It is easy to administer and score and has measurement properties that are better than expected for a new instrument. Given the potential uses of such a measure for physical therapists and other health professionals, further development and testing of the scale are in order.
Measuring balance in the elderly: preliminary development of an instrument
Katherine Berg, MSc,BScPT, Faculty Lecturer, McGill University, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University.
Sharon Wood-Dauphine, PhD,Associate Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University.
J.I. Williams, PhD, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University.
David Gayton, MD, PhD, Director, Division of Geriatrics, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal.