In a Functional Assessment you test mobility. Direct observation can identify problems in gait and balance. Early detection of deficits in mobility can identify those clients at risk of injury. Whenever possible, rehabilitation can then assist in restoring functional losses and reduce the risk of falls. For those deficits that cannot be rehabilitated, assistive equipment such as a cane or walker can be provided.
The Tinetti Balance and Gait Evaluation is a 28-point assessment tool that is performed by a trained evaluator. This can be done by a GCM, an OT or an RN but all should be trained in the test.
A condensed version of the Tinetti is also available. This test, the Get Up and Go Test, is simple to administer, requires no special equipment, and can be conducted in a brief amount of time. The test begins with the client sitting up straight in a high-seat chair, which allows the person to sit with hips at a 90-degree angle to knees. The client is then instructed to (1) get up (without using armrests if possible), (2) stand still, (3) walk forward 10 feet, (4) turn around and walk back to the chair, and (5) turn and be seated. The evaluator notes sitting balance; transfers from sitting to standing; pace and stability of walking; and ability to turn without staggering. Statistical verification of the test by the developers showed good correlation between test scores and other measures of gait, which in some cases involved more sophisticated laboratory-based measures of balance and gait.