Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Meridee Danks


Accidental Falls -- prevention & control; Aged, 80 and over; Postural Balance; Risk Assessment; Risk Factors


Background: One in three adults greater than 65 years of age have had an accidental fall in their lifetime. In 2012, accidental falls cost the U.S. healthcare system $30.1 billion dollars. Strength, balance, and coordination deficits contribute to an individual experiencing a fall. Studies have shown that community based-exercise programs for older adults can improve strength, balance, and coordination and reduce the risk of falls.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to discover whether participant balance and confidence improved following the completion of the Stepping On program. Also, the study evaluated the effectiveness of Stepping On in reducing fall risk by determining whether balance tests including: Five Time Sit-to-Stand (FTSS), Four-Stage Balance Test (FSBT), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and Gait Speed via GAITRite, identify individuals at risk of falling and if the tests could be effectively administered in community fall prevention programs.

Methods: Ten participants were recruited from two Stepping On programs being offered in the local area. Baseline questionnaires were collected from participants at the Week 2 and Week 7 sessions. Balance assessments (FTSS, FSBT, TUG, and Gait Speed) were performed at Week 2 and Week 7 to determine fall risk of the participants. The Falls Efficacy Scale International (FES-I) and Falls Behavior Scale (FaB) were also completed at Week 2, Week 7, and a 3 month recheck to determine participants' confidence and perceived fall risk.

Results: T- tests were performed comparing balance test scores from Week 2 to Week 7. There was a significant improvement in times on the TUG (p=0.015). A significant decrease was also found in the total number of tests that identified a participant's fall risk from Week 2 to Week 7 (p=0.034). All the participants subjectively reported balance and confidence improvement following the program.

Conclusion: Significance was found with improved times on the TUG from Week 2 to Week 7, demonstrating a decrease of participants' fall risk. These findings suggest that the TUG can be used as a quick balance screening tool to help identify objective benefits from community-based fall prevention programs. The TUG could be an effective addition to fall prevention programs to help participants understand their perceived risk and strategize ways to help prevent falls.