Timed Up and Go Test
Use the Timed Up and Go Test to assess if your elderly patients have a high or low risk of falling, and create/adjust a care plan for them accordingly!
What is a Timed Up and Go Test?
The Timed Up and Go Test is a physical therapy instrument that is implemented by therapists, usually for their elderly patients/clients. This instrument assesses whether an older adult can maintain their balance when standing up from a chair, walking a few meters forward, walking back to the chair and sitting down while turning. The time it takes to complete both walks will determine if they have a high, moderate, or low risk of falling.
Falling is one of the worst things that could happen to an older adult (or anyone, really). The physical consequences could be grave, and the toll of the aftermath on their mental and emotional health could lead to frustration because their limited mobility means they can no longer do things they used to do with ease.
We’re sure you want what’s best for your elderly patient, and this tool should help you gauge their risk of falling and determine what’s best for them moving forward!
Printable Timed Up and Go Test
Download this Timed Up and Go Test and assess your client’s risk of falling.
How to use the Timed Up and Go Test:
The Timed Up and Go Test is relatively easy for you to administer but can pose certain difficulties for your clients. Here are the steps involved in completing the test.
Make the necessary preparations before administering the test.
Before starting the test, you’re going to need the following:
- Tape to make a 3-meter-long distance marker
- An armchair to be used as the starting and ending points of the test
- Ruler/yardstick to measure the distance for the tape
- Stopwatch to time your elderly patient
You also have to ensure your elderly patient wears the footwear they usually wear. They may also use a walking aid if they need to. By aid, we mean something like a walking stick, not a person.
Once you have these, have your patient sit on the chair, and make sure that the distance marker is three meters from the chair.
Inform your patient about the instructions.
Once everything is prepared and your patient is ready, give your patient these instructions, so they know what to do:
- The test starts when you say GO.
- When you say GO, they have to stand up from the chair and walk towards the distance marker
- Once they reach the distance marker, they have to turn around, walk back to the chair, and sit down
- They only need to walk at the normal pace that they do
You will start your stopwatch timer as soon as you say GO, then stop it as soon as they sit back down. The test has no time limit. They can stop walking and rest but not sit down except on the chair.
Have them do a trial test
Once the instructions have been given and are clear to your patient, do a practice test! The timing should not count for this one.
Do an official test after the practice test
After the practice test, let the client rest briefly, then start the actual test.
As they go about their walk, make sure you observe your patient and note down anything you notice, like the following:
- Their gait and gait speed
- If they sway
- If they have stable posture or not
- The length of their strides
- If they’re shuffling
- If they swing their arms or not
- If they’re having a hard time using their walking aid
Make an assessment based on the results and make a plan accordingly.
If your patient scores above 12 seconds, they have a high risk of falling.
If they score above 30 seconds, that doesn’t just mean they have a high risk of falling. It also means that if they do fall, they may require walking aids and supervision for ADLs.
If you’re handling a person who just got discharged from the hospital after hip fracture surgery, they will likely fall within the first six months post-surgery if it takes more than 24 seconds to finish the test.
You might want to do this test multiple times every few days to understand your patient’s mobility better. A better picture of their mobility means you can make the appropriate care plan.
Timed Up and Go Test Example (Sample)
Here is a filled-out Timed Up and Go Test sample, to give you better insight into what the resource looks like when it has been completed.
Download this Timed Up and Go Test Example (Sample) here:
When does one typically use a Timed Up and Go Test?
Suppose the elderly patient/client you’re caring for can still stand and walk but has started showing signs of deteriorating mobility. In that case, it’s best to administer this assessment as soon as possible to plan ahead. Early planning ensures you can prevent them from getting into risky situations where they risk falling.
As stated earlier, it’s also best to administer this test frequently (perhaps every few days), so you can better monitor and gauge their mobility to see if it’s worsening.
Who can use this free printable Timed Up and Go Test?
Physical therapists focusing on geriatric patients can use the Timed Up and Go Test for their practice. While this was explicitly designed to assess an elderly person’s risk of falling, it doesn’t mean it’s exclusively for them.
This test can also be used for younger patients experiencing mobility issues, stroke patients, frail people in general, and those who have recently had hip operations.
Why is this assessment popular and useful to physical therapists?
It’s relatively easy and quick to do!
The Timed Up and Go Test doesn’t take too long to complete. You can finish the entire assessment (including the practice test) in just five minutes.
It’s a good way to monitor your elderly client!
You may reissue this test to your client to check for any improvements or if their mobility is deteriorating. It’s also an excellent way to see if you need to adjust your care plan for them.
It’s recommended that you have them take the test every few days to get a good picture of their mobility and make more informed decisions when making your care plan.
Immediately determine what you need for your care plan!
Speaking of care plans, since you will be assessing the patient and interpreting the results immediately after the test, you should be able to talk to your patient about their fall risk. You can then determine what needs to be added to the care plan to prevent them from getting into an accident where they fall.
Commonly asked questions
Yes. It’s advised that physical therapists make sure that they are there to support the patient as they administer the test and to make sure to give them breaks after the practice tests on every test date.
When you’re at the point where you need to assess your elderly patient’s risk of falling. It’s not necessarily a one-off thing. It’s highly recommended that you have them take the test several times (perhaps once a week or once every few days). Reissuing this test will yield clearer results that may help shape the care plan.
It was originally meant for elderly patients but is not exclusive to them. People who have had a stroke, those recovering from hip operations, frail people, and younger people with mobility issues can take this test.
What are the benefits of using the Timed Up and Go Test?
Aside from being helpful to physical therapists, your patient might find this beneficial because they can know their limits based on the current state of their mobility. They will know the activities that risk them falling, so they know what to avoid. They will also be aware of what needs work to improve (if possible), what can’t be changed, and how to adjust accordingly based on your care plan.
Why use Carepatron for physical therapy software?
Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to various physical therapy assessments, such as the Timed Up and Go 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 power to do the test. You don’t need to print out a sheet to bring. You can access the Timed Up and Go assessment on your laptop or phone!
Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.