Nursing home worker helps a resident stand up

Clinicians may want to keep an eye on two possible factors that can skew the results of two standard assessments of risk in older adults, investigators say: height and age. 

The researchers sought to find how these and other factors might affect the results of 10-meter gait speed and 5-times sit-to-stand tests, measures that help assess elders’ risk of adverse clinical outcomes.

Among the 775 study participants, gait speed was stature-dependent, they found. A 10-cm (about 4-in) increase in height was associated with 0.07 meters-per-second faster gait speed. 

In addition, the upper and lower limits (reference range) for performance in both gait speed and sit-to-stand tests were significantly different when age was taken into account. Gender was also factored into sub-group results.

Identifying older adults with functional performance that is below norms is the first step toward prevention, the authors wrote. If the study’s findings are confirmed, they may help clinicians define subgroup-specific “below-range” values for age and height as well as gender, the authors concluded.

The authors have developed a web-based application that helps clinicians determine subgroup-specific reference ranges. 

The results may also be useful in conjunction with other universal clinical cut points for performance in these tests, they concluded. 

The study was published in JAMDA.