Does functional reach improve with rehabilitation?

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      Functional reach (FR, maximal safe standing forward reach) is a precise, reliable, clinically accessible, age-sensitive measure of balance that approximates center of pressure excursion and validly estimates physical frailty. We now test its ability to detect improvement in balance over time. Twenty-eight inpatient male veterans (age 40 to 105, mean, 67.3) undergoing physical rehabilitation and 13 nonrehabilitation controls were evaluated at baseline and every 4 weeks using FR (yardstick method), 10-foot walking time (WT), the Duke hierarchical mobility skills protocol (HMS) and a portion of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Their sensitivity to change was determined using the responsiveness index (RI). FR as well as the other physical performance instruments tested were found to be sensitive to change (RI for FR = 0.97, WT = 11.26, HMS = 4.63, FIM = 4.93) and therefore, appropriate measures for use in prospective clinical trials.


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