Monday, March 14th, 2016
Last modified on April 25th, 2022
MedBridge provides clinicians and healthcare organizations a comprehensive education platform that includes clinical education, patient education, and home exercise programs to advance their knowledge, engage patients in their recovery, and improve outcomes.
By now, many of you have heard the term the “sixth vital sign” when referring to walking speed. We are all accustomed to taking vital signs to assess the status of our patients, but Fritz and Lusardi remind us about another simple test that gives great insight into the functional status of our patients. These authors suggest that walking speed is “almost the perfect measure.”
Why would this simple little test be considered the perfect measure? Let’s look at some of the benefits of assessing gait velocity in our patients. The test is:
Just like vital signs, this test should not be used alone. You would not do an examination of your patient and only assess gait velocity! However, as part of your total examination, this is an important piece of the picture of function. It is important because walking speed depends on many factors, such as motor control, muscle strength, sensation, cognition, motivation, and overall health status.
Click here to read more by Karen McCain on The Sixth Vital Sign, including how to access gait velocity plus access a short video from her course: Motor Control, Motor Learning, and Gait Recovery After Stroke.
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