Mobility test will gauge fitness of elderly

January 30th, 2009 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 30 (IANS) Mobility test, like blood test or blood pressure readings, is also an important indicator of physical fitness and health status. A new mobility test for elderly patients, developed by Monash University doctoral graduate Natalie de Morton, is being implemented in hospitals and aged-care facilities around the world.

de Morton devised the simple mobility test, called the DEMMI (De Morton Mobility Index), in which patients are asked a series of questions and then undergo some basic physical tasks, to quickly identify the patient’s level of mobility and in turn, treatment options.

Until now, mobility tests have been created to test either those who are healthy and those who are suffering some sort of disability. The tests weren’t interchangeable.

“I tried to make it a very clear and simple instrument. Most of the questions have ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ responses. A few of the items have three response options, but most have two,” said de Morton.

“We wanted it to be a quick and easy test to administer, because otherwise it wouldn’t be used where it may be the most valuable and that is in the acute clinical setting, when instant diagnoses can be incredibly important to determining potential treatment options for a patient. On average, it takes just under nine minutes to administer,” de Morton said, according to Monash release.

The DEMMI uses a scorecard with 15 simple physical tests for assessing the mobility of elderly patients and includes questions such as: Can the patient stand for 10 seconds with one foot in front of the other, roll over in bed or walk unaided for 50 metres?

The paper was published in the Health and Quality of Life Outcomes Journal.

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