Graduation Date

Spring 5-4-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Programs

Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Ka-Chun (Joseph) Siu

Second Advisor

Diego Torres-Russotto

Third Advisor

Danish Bhatti

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide. The medical cost on fall related injuries becomes a huge financial burden. In order to prevent falls and fall related injuries, fall risk assessment becomes a routine practice for healthcare providers. In most clinics, practitioners conduct a quick neurological balance assessment in the room or along the hallway to determine abnormal gait pattern, indicating increased risk of falls. However, the validity of such subjective assessment is questionable. The purpose of this study was to identify a single feasible neurological balance task or a combination of balance tasks which would have the equivalent utilization to screen fall risk as the Berg Balance Scale. I found that single task including stance base, stance with feet apart eyes closed, stance with feet close eyes open, stance with feet close eyes closed, gait in Brief Ataxia Rating Scale, pull test and unipodal jump can screen fall risk.Combined tasks increased the specificity of fall risk screening. The combination ofunipodal jump OR Pull test and the combination of unipodal jump OR arising from chair have balanced sensitivity and specificity to screen fall risk. In conclusion, this study suggests pull test and unipodal jump as the best two clinical bedside tasks to screen fall risk.

Available for download on Friday, April 23, 2021

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