Balance assessment in people with COPD: An evidence-based guide
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Balance problems and an increased rate and risk of falls are common in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although a balance assessment is now recommended by clinical practice guidelines for pulmonary rehabilitation, specific tests have yet to be suggested. The purpose of this review is to provide an evidence-based synthesis of balance measurement in older adults and in people with COPD, to guide practice in this area. An overview of best practices for assessing balance and fall risk in older adults is provided along with a practical synthesis of evidence to date on common balance measures used in people with COPD such as the Timed Up and Go, Single Leg Stance, Berg Balance, and Mini and Full Balance Evaluation Systems Tests. Finally, two clinical scenarios are described to illustrate the process of evidence-based clinical decision-making with respect to balance assessment in people with COPD. Ultimately, the selection of balance test and its interpretation will depend on the purpose of the assessment, available data on psychometric properties, the patient's individual characteristics, and the resources available to the clinician.
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