Application of the voluntary step execution test to identify elderly fallers Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives to assess the use of the Voluntary Step Execution Test to identify fallers. Design cross-sectional retrospective. Setting two self-care, residential facilities. Participants a total of 100 healthy old volunteers (mean age = 78.4 ± 5.7). Measurements the study investigated the use of the Voluntary Step Execution Test to identify fallers under single and dual-task conditions. Berg Balance Test (BBS) and Timed Get Up and Go (TUG) were used to assess balance and gait function. Results there were no significant differences found between fallers and non-fallers in BBS and TUG (50.5 ± 4.6 versus 52.5 ± 3.4 and 9.4 ± 3.4versus7.98 ± 2.3 respectively).There were no statisticallysignificant differences between non-fallers and fallers across all step execution parameters under the single-task condition. However, adding cognitive load to the Voluntary Step Execution Test revealed statistically significant increases in duration of the preparatory phase, swing time and the time to foot-contact (P = 0.035; P = 0.033 and P = 0.037, respectively). Based on the coefficients of the logistic regression model participants with dual-task step execution times of ≥1,100 ms had five times the risk of falling than participants with execution times of <1,100 ms. Conclusions the study provides evidence that a simple, safe measure of step execution under dual-task conditions can identify elderly individuals at risk for falls.

publication date

  • January 1, 2007