Can gait speed test be used as a falls risk screening tool in community dwelling older adults? A review
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Physiotherapy Programme, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Department of Medical Rehabilitation Services, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Malaysia
Nutrition and Dietetics Programme, School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Submission date: 2014-08-16
Acceptance date: 2015-04-27
Online publication date: 2015-07-07
Publication date: 2020-03-23
Corresponding author
Devinder Kaur Ajit Singh   

Physiotherapy Program, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, Kuala Lumpur 50300, Malaysia. Tel.: +60 1 2546 6442.
Pol. Ann. Med. 2016;23(1):61-67
Gait speed is a simple and easy to perform outcome measure that does not require expensive equipment or complex instructions. However, whether gait speed test can be used as a falls risk screening tool among community dwelling older adults is still unclear.

The objective of this review was to summarize the evidence on gait speed as a falls risk screening tool among community dwelling older adults.

Material and methods:
Articles were searched from two electronic databases, reference lists of studies and reviewed articles. Five articles met the criteria for review.

Results and discussion:
Based on the review performed, it was concluded that there is no consensus whether gait speed can be used to identify fallers and non-fallers among community dwelling older adults. The discrimination and predictive validity of gait speed as a tool to identify the risk of falls is not available. However, risk of falls have been categorized into four categories based on gait speed. The categories were <0.6 m/s as slow, 0.6–1.0 m/s as intermediate, 1.0–1.3 m/s as normal performance walker and >1.3 m/s as fast performance walker. Majority of authors have reported high risk of falls among groups with gait speed that ranged 0.6–1.0 m/s. This suggests that decreased gait speed among older adults would likely increase the probability of falls risk.

The discrimination and predictive validity of gait speed test as a tool to identify the risk of falls among community dwelling older adults is yet to be established.

This study is a part of a larger in progress study funded by grants from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Komuniti-2012-003) and Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia through Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (LRGS/BU/2012/ UKM-UKM/K/01).
No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.
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