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  1. Bruckner, Jan PT, PhD
  2. Herge, E Adel OTR/L, MS


A modified version of the Timed-Up-and-Go Test (TUAG) was tried on a sample of community-based elders with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Eighteen subjects aged 55 and older were tested under 3 conditions: free walking, walking with a rolling walker, and walking with a personal assistant. Trials were done on a 10-ft walkway; each subject performed 3 trials of each condition. The test failed to distinguish fallers from persons who did not have a history of falls. In addition, subjects had great difficulty using the rolling walker and 14 subjects walked slower with the personal assistant than when walking freely. The Modified Up and Go Test (MUAG) has good reliability but poor validity for this sample. The use of traditional compensatory strategies, such as rolling walkers, should be reconsidered for this population.


FALLING is the leading cause of accidental death in individuals older than 65 years of age and is the most common cause of injury as well, resulting in over 200,000 hip fractures each year. 1 Falls can be the precursor to placement in residential care. 2 Hospital costs for the elderly are estimated to be $2 billion annually and the personal cost to these individuals is more than $38,000 a year. 3 In addition, falls may result in psychological consequences such as fear of falls, 4 decreased activity, and low confidence. 2 With the increasing number of elderly in the American population, 5 health care workers and researchers seek improved measures to identify elderly individuals who are at risk for falling and interventions that reduce this risk.


Hsieh et al 6 reported that adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities (MR/DD) have risk factors for falls that are different from those of the general elderly population and require modified programs for screening and intervention. The ideal tool to assess the risk of falls in such people would be easy to administer, require minimal instrumentation, and provide valid and reliable results. This pilot project sought to test the validity and reliability of a modified version of the Timed-Up-and-Go (TUAG) assessment. The purpose of this study was 2-fold: to quantify the reliability of measurements obtained through the Modified-Up-and-Go (MUAG) Test and to determine if the MUAG Test can discriminate between fallers and nonfallers in a sample population of elder adults with MR/DD.