A physiological profile approach to falls risk assessment and prevention

Phys Ther. 2003 Mar;83(3):237-52.


The purpose of this perspective article is to describe the use of a physiological profile approach to falls risk assessment and prevention that has been developed by the Falls and Balance Research Group of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, Australia. The profile's use for people with a variety of factors that put them at risk for falls is discussed. The Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA) involves a series of simple tests of vision, peripheral sensation, muscle force, reaction time, and postural sway. The tests can be administered quickly, and all equipment needed is portable. The results can be used to differentiate people who are at risk for falls ("fallers") from people who are not at risk for falls ("nonfallers"). A computer program using data from the PPA can be used to assess an individual's performance in relation to a normative database so that deficits can be targeted for intervention. The PPA provides valid and reliable measurements that can be used for assessing falls risk and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and is suitable for use in a range of physical therapy and health care settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Risk Assessment