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Predicting falls within the elderly community: comparison of postural sway, reaction time, the Berg balance scale and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale for comparing fallers and non-fallers

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0167-4943(03)00082-7
  • Berg Balance Scale
  • Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale
  • Predicting Falls
  • Postural Sway
  • Simple Reaction Time


Abstract Simple reaction time, the Berg balance scale, the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale and postural sway were studied in order to determine cut-off scores as well as develop a model used in the prevention of fallers within the elderly community. One hundred and twenty-five subjects, 45 fallers and 80 non-fallers were evaluated throughout the study and results indicated that non-fallers have significantly faster reaction times, have higher scores on the Berg balance scale and the ABC scale as well as sway at slower frequencies when compared to fallers. Furthermore, all risk factors were subsequently entered into a logistic regression analysis and results showed that reaction time, the total Berg score and the total ABC score contributed significantly to the prediction of falls with 89% sensitivity and 96% specificity. A second logistic regression was carried out with the same previous variables as well as all questions of the Berg and ABC scales. Results from the logistic analysis revealed that three variables were associated with fall status with 91% sensitivity and 97% specificity. Results from the following study would seem rather valuable as an assessment tool for health care professionals in the identification and monitoring of potential fallers within nursing homes and throughout the community.

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