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  1. Struble-Fitzsimmons, Danielle PT, DPT, PhD


Background and Purpose: Inpatient geriatric psychiatry units have the highest fall rates in the acute care setting and most falls in this population occur during the mobility tasks of transfers and ambulation. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test includes these 2 specific functional tasks and has been used to predict falls in other geriatric populations but has never been tested in an inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the TUG time measurements of inpatient geriatric psychiatry patients were associated with falling.


Methods: The study was a retrospective chart review using a case-control design. The sample was obtained from patients admitted to 1 inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit during the 4-month study period.


Results: The total sample size was N = 62 and included older adults with (N = 29; "fallers") and without (N = 33; "nonfallers") a history of falls in the 6 months prior to admission. The mean age of fallers (M = 75.8, SD = 9.6) was not significantly different from the age of nonfallers (M = 74.0, SD = 7.6), P = .424. Both groups had higher proportions of female subjects; nonfallers were 75.8% (n = 25) female and fallers were 69.0% (n = 20) female. Most nonfallers (84.8%) completed the TUG testing without an assistive device, while most fallers (48.3%) used a walker. A significant difference was found between the TUG times of nonfallers and fallers, U = 737.00, z = 3.65, P < .001, r = 0.46. Fallers took longer to complete the TUG test (median = 26.5) than nonfallers (median = 13.6). The TUG time explanatory variable was statistically significant, P = .002. Increasing TUG times were associated with an increased likelihood of patient falls (odds ratio = 1.10). The optimal TUG cutoff score was 16.5 seconds, with 79.3% sensitivity and 72.7% specificity.


Conclusions: The TUG time measurement was found to be associated with falling. A cutoff time of 16.5 seconds is recommended to identify nonfallers from fallers in the inpatient geriatric psychiatry setting.