Health & Medical Health Care

How to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults

´╗┐How to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults

Functional Reach Test


For the functional reach test, have the patient sit with feet a comfortable distance apart, behind a line perpendicular to and adjacent to the wall. Instruct the patient to raise the arm closest to the wall to shoulder height; then measure the position of the middle finger's knuckle.

Next, ask the patient (with feet flat on the floor) to lean forward as far as possible without losing balance, falling forward, or taking a step. Record the middle finger's knuckle position at the point of furthest reach; then determine the difference between the measurements. Have the patient perform the test three times, and determine the average. The result indicates your patient's fall-risk category:

  • very high risk: unable to reach

  • high risk: reach of less than 6" (15.2 cm)

  • moderate risk: reach of 6" to 10" (15.2 to 25.4 cm)

  • low risk: reach greater than 10" in (25.4 cm).

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