Measurement of gait speed of older adults is feasible and informative in a home-care setting

J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(1):22-3. doi: 10.1519/00139143-200932010-00005.


Purpose: Although gait speed is widely recommended as a measure of activity limitation, it is not routinely used clinically with older adults. This retrospective study was undertaken to determine whether the measurement of gait speed is feasible and informative in a home care setting.

Methods: The therapy records of 27 ambulatory patients were examined for gait speed measures and other relevant data.

Results: Gait speed was documented for all patients. It was significantly lower than that of age and sex matched normals. A wide range of speeds were noted for patients who required total assistance or were completely independent according to Functional Independence Measure criteria or who were able to walk at least 150 feet.

Conclusions: Measurement of the gait speed of older adults is feasible in a home care setting. Its sensitivity to limitations not revealed by other measures provides support for broader use.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies