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Chiropractic Research Review

Assessing Balance and Gait Impairments: Functional Tools

Functional tools are tests or measures that objectively quantify patients' abilities to perform certain tasks or activities. In today's health care environment, functional tools serve to demonstrate objective function and provide evidence of improvement to third-party payers, agencies, practitioners and patients.

Health care providers have many functional tools available to them. This article focusing on the geriatric patient details the key characteristics of functional tools, the various types of functional tools available, and the benefits of utilizing such tools in clinical decision-making. Included is an overview of specific functional tools for evaluating gait and balance impairments, including:

* Sharpened Romberg;
* One-Legged Stance Test;
* Functional Reach Test;
* Timed Stands;
* Tinetti Assessment Tool;
* Berg Balance Scale; and
* Modified Gait Abnormality Rating Scale (GARS).

Functional tools provide objectivity and encourage standardization while allowing for concise, accurate assessment and recording of functional status. Printed copies of the normative database, the Tinetti Assessment Tool, the Berg Balance Scale, and the Modified GARS are included in the text of the article for clinical use.

Note: One reason this is such a great article is the inclusion of several clinical forms for evaluating your patients!

Anemaet WK, Moffa-Trotter ME. Functional tools for assessing balance and gait impairments. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 1999:15(1), pp66-83.

Chiropractic Research Review

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