30-second Chair Stand Test

Gauge your patient's leg strength and endurance with this 30-second Chair Stand Test! It’s a great and easy-to-conduct way to assess their risk of falling.

By Bernard Ramirez on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is the 30-second Chair Stand Test?

The is an assessment that was created for older adults/elderly people aged 60+. It was developed to assess the leg strength and endurance of people who fall within that age group and evaluate their risk of falling.

It’s relatively easy to do, given that one only needs a chair and a timer. The chair must be 17 inches tall and cannot have armrests. It must also be placed right by a wall but facing away from it, so the patient taking the test doesn’t fall back by accident.

The chair must not have armrests because this test requires them to stand up without using their hands as support.

While it is easy to administer, the actual difficulty of the test will depend on the person taking it.

Printable 30 Second Chair Stand Test

Download this 30 Second Chair Stand Test and assess your client’s leg strength.

How to administer the 30-second Chair Stand Test:

Set up the test.

Grab a chair (again, make sure it’s 17 inches tall and has no armrests). Place the chair by a wall and make sure it faces away from it.

Then, ready your stopwatch and have your patient sit on the chair.

Give your patient the instructions.

Once your patient is sitting on the chair, tell them about the test and what’s going to happen:

  • Place both your hands on opposite shoulders
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Keep your back straight
  • Keep your arms against your chest
  • When I say “GO,” rise to a full standing position, then sit back down again
  • Keep repeating that until I say “STOP”

You can demonstrate the task to them.

Have your patient do a practice round just to try it out.

Start the test.

Once you’ve given the instructions and they are done with a practice round, start the test.

As soon as you say “GO,” start your stopwatch. As soon as you say “STOP,” stop your stopwatch.

As they are doing the test, make sure you count the number of times they went to full-standing position throughout the 30-second runtime. If the patient is halfway to a full-standing position when you stop the timer, count that as a full stand.

Make sure to record the number of times they went to full-standing position, not just count.

In the event that they ever use their arms to help themselves stand, the number of times they went to a full-standing position will be zero. That will be their score, too.

Assess their risk of falling and develop a treatment plan.

Once you are done recording the number of times they went to full-standing position, consider the following ranges for below-average scores:

If they score below average, that means that they are at risk of falling down when standing up from a chair without the aid of their hands, equipment, or another person.

If they score below average, your treatment plan must consider the possibility that they might fall, and how that fall will impact them.

30-second Chair Stand Test Example (Sample)

Here is a filled-out 30-second Chair Stand Test sample, to give you insight into what this template may look like when it has been completed.

Download this 30 Second Chair Stand Test Example (Sample) here:

30-second Chair Stand Test Example:

When does one typically use the 30-second Chair Stand Test?

Since this test is meant for older adults/elderly patients, it’s best to administer this as soon as possible during consultations about mobility and ADLs.

Falling down is a risk that all older adults have; it’s best to check if they are actually at risk of falling by having them take tests such as this as early as possible. This is so that you can prepare the care plan they need to prevent them from getting into situations where they might accidentally fall.

Who can use this free printable 30-second Chair Stand Test?

Physical therapists, especially those who treat older adults/elderly people, can use the 30-second Chair Stand Test for their practice. Of course, while this particular test was designed specifically to assess an elderly person’s risk of falling when standing up from a chair, that doesn’t mean that it’s exclusively for them.

It can also be used to assess those who have exhibited signs of mobility issues with their legs, such as those with degenerative joint disease.

What are the benefits of using the 30-second Chair Stand Test?

It saves time!

Given that it’s easy to administer and the instructions are simple, this test can be done really quickly! It shouldn’t even take three minutes to do it. This includes the practice round.

Patients will become more aware of their limits.

This isn’t just beneficial to physical therapists. It might also be helpful to the patient because they can recognize their limits based on the results. They will know how strong their legs are and what activities they should avoid to prevent falling.

They will also be aware of what needs work in order to get better (if possible), what can’t be changed, and how to adjust accordingly to what can’t be changed based on your care plan for them.

Why use Carepatron for physical therapy software?

Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when it comes to streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of physical therapy assessments such as the 30-second Chair Stand Test!

You can even store this and other assessments in a HIPAA-compliant manner and secure them by setting up who can access these documents besides you.

Not only are our physical therapy software and assessments intuitive, but they’re also easily accessible! Imagine doing a house call because your patient doesn’t have the strength to travel to your clinic, but they have the strength to do the test. You don’t need to print out a sheet to bring. You can access the 30-second Chair Stand Test on your laptop or phone!

Physical Therapy Software
Is this test even safe for older adults and elderly people?
Is this test even safe for older adults and elderly people?

Commonly asked questions

Is this test even safe for older adults and elderly people?

Yes. While it asks the patient to stand up without using their hands for assistance, the physical therapist should be there to prevent the patient from falling. This is also why the instructions say that the chair should be placed right by a wall, with the chair facing away from it. This is so the patient doesn’t fall backward by accident if they sit down awkwardly.

How does one go about scoring this test?

The score is the same as the number of times the patient is able to reach a full-standing position during the course of this 30-second test. The therapist must record the number of times they did that and see if it falls short of the below-average scores per age group.

What if the patient begins to use their hands as support during the test even after they’ve successfully assumed full-standing positions right before using their hands?

That immediately counts as 0, even if they could successfully assume full-standing positions prior. If they have to use their hands, whether, at the start or a certain point, they already need assistance with standing up. It also means they risk falling and can’t keep standing up and sitting down in succession.

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