Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The timed “Up & Go”: A test of basic functional mobility for frail elderly persons

The objective of this study was to examine the clinical usefulness of the timed “Up & Go” as a short test of basic mobility skills in population of frail elderly adults. The test being administered is very quick and practical to complete and covers the basic bodily movement. Mathias et al proposed this test before however his test had problems with the scoring system. But in this test conducted by Podsiadlo & Richardson a new scoring system was implemented to make the test more reliable and valid.

The test consisted of sixty participants from the community to the geriatric day hospital. Twenty three of the sixty were male and thirty seven of the sixty were female. Ten active, healthy, normal volunteers over the age of seventy were also tested. The subjects varied widely in their ability to perform all of the mobility tasks. The test was performed on patients attending the day hospital over a two month period. Those who had stage four Parkinson’s disease and were medically unstable were excluded from the study.

The test required the participants to stand up from a regular arm chair walk a distance of 3m, turn, walk back to the chair and sit down again. The subject is allowed to begin the test when they are given their cue to go. The subjects wear their normal footwear and are allowed to use their walking aid to assist them with the task. The subjects walk through the test once and then at the next attempt are timed for the real thing.

The results show that the time scores varied between ten to twenty seconds in fifty seven participants. Three of the participants were unable to perform the test. One could not get out of the chair and the other two could not walk without assistance. Seven participants did not have the stamina levels to complete the test. The results of the study seem to support the hypothesis of the timed “Up & Go” score would correlate with the patients balance, gait speed and functional capacity.

The timed “Up & Go” test is a useful screening test or a descriptive test. It gives information about the patients balance, gait speed and functional ability. It places the patients into a functional category and indicates those requiring further assessment. The timed “Up & Go” can indicate a lack of improvement or even a deterioration of which the patient or health care provider may be unaware. The test is reliable both between raters and over time. The test is adequate for a fragile elderly person because it is a simple task to complete which does not require a massive amounts of exertion.


  1. You say the test is reliable both between raters and overtime. What are "raters"?

  2. Hello Jermanie,

    You said that this test is adequate for elderly people because it doesn't require a massive amount of exertion. What other factors do you think make this test valid for elderly people?

  3. Good write up, Jermaine, well done.

    Minor comments: parts of this reads like a list, where you're just summarising points from the paper in the order they appeared there. Don't get stuck reporting things this way; be selective, talk about the points you're interested in grouped in a way that makes sense for you.

    You talk about how the TUG task correlates to other measures of function; what other measures? How were those tested? Are there other individual differences measures we might want to include when we run this test?

  4. Thank you for your feedback. Gary from my understanding a rater is a person who judges or evaluates the performance. Stephan the timed up and go test is very simple because it does not require a massive amount of learning. It is a everday task.