Have your students perform balance screenings at a local health fair or community center, some good screening tools include:
- The Five Times Sit to Stand Test – have the person cross arms over their chest and sitting at the back of a chair. Time how long it takes for the person to rise 5 times from the chair. The stop watch is started when the examiner says “go” and stopped when the person is completely seated in the chair. Scores of 15 seconds or less are considered normal in a healthy older adult. (Lord SR, Murray SM, Chapman K, et al., 2002) (Newcomer KL, Krug HE, Mahowald ML., 1993).
- The Timed “Up and Go” Test – have the person rise from a chair, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back and sit down. The stop watch starts when the person initiates forward movement and stops when the person is fully seated in the chair. Scores less than 20 seconds have been shown to indicate people who are independent in ADL’s and less than 14 seconds indicate little to no risk for falling. (Steffen TM, Hacker TA, Mollinger L. (2002).
- Romberg test - link This test enables the caregiver to detect instability due to a vestibular or proprioceptive lesion when visual input is removed. Have the patient stand with their feet together (touching each other). Then ask the patient to close their eyes. Remain close at hand in case the patient begins to sway or fall.