Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if the Fullerton Advanced Balance (FAB) scale can predict faller status in a group of independently functioning older adults.
Design: A cross-sectional design was used to establish the sensitivity and specificity of the FAB scale to predict faller status based on a retrospective self-reported fall history. For the purpose of this study, a faller was classified as an older adult with a history of 2 or more falls in the previous 12 months.
Setting: Multipurpose senior centers in an urban community.
Participants: A sample of independently functioning older adults (N=192; mean age+/-SD, 77+/-6.5 y).
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: FAB scale, a retrospective history of falls.
Results: Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that the total FAB scale score could be used to predict faller status (as determined by a retrospective self-reported fall history). In the present sample, the probability of falling increased by 8% with each 1-point decrease in total FAB scale score. Receiver operating characteristic analysis determined that a cut-off score of 25 out of 40 on the FAB scale produced the highest sensitivity (74.6%) and specificity (52.6%) in predicting faller status. Five individual test items on the FAB scale were particularly predictive of faller status and could be combined to form a short version of the scale that may be even more predictive of faller status and require less time to administer.
Conclusions: The FAB scale is a predictive measure of faller status when used with independently functioning older adults. A practitioner can be confident in more than 7 out of 10 cases that an older adult who scores 25 or lower on the FAB scale is at high risk for falls and in need of immediate intervention.