Assisted Living & Rehab Sarasota

Elderly Mobility Scale (EMS): 7 Factors that Help Determine Your Loved One's Risk of Falling

by Sarasota Bay Club

Falls can happen to all of us, mainly due to cognitive impairment, the use of medications, sensory deficits, or general clumsiness. However, the risk of falls can be incredibly serious with advanced age. Therefore, it is important to identify and address fall risk factors in your elderly loved ones as early as possible.

Are you getting worried about the health and safety of your elderly loved one because you've noticed they are having mobility issues? A single fall may not cause alarm, but when falls become recurrent, they can harm individuals. Therefore, before considering the services of a home care provider to ensure the safety of your elderly loved ones, it is important to determine whether they are at risk of falling. One of the best diagnostic tools used to evaluate the mobility level of seniors is the elderly mobility scale (EMS). Here is all you need to know about EMS.

What is the Elderly Mobility Scale (EMS)?

The Elderly Mobility Scale is a standardized diagnostic tool that physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals use to measure the functional mobility of elderly adults. The EMS is a reliable tool used over the years to predict falls or mobility and assess the success of an exercise program for improving mobility in elderly adults. This scale offers an in-depth analysis of the three aspects of mobility (locomotion, balance, and position changes) using seven dimensions.

The EMS score ranges between 0 and 20, with 20 depicting good physical abilities or the lowest risk of falls. From the EMS scores, patients can be categorized into three main groups. Patients who score less than ten are considered dependent on safe mobility, while scores of 10–13 are generally borderline. Patients scoring over 14 are considered independent because they can perform mobility maneuvers independently. Even though there are different versions of the EMS, this article examines the seven common factors often considered when determining a person's risk of falling.

Factors Used to Evaluate an Individual's Risk of Fall

1. Gait

A senior's walking pattern can provide suitable information on their risk of falling. The walking pattern is mainly assessed by instructing the individual to walk in a straight line while observing their stride length, step symmetry, or dragging of feet to ascertain whether they can walk independently or need assistance.

2. Standing

Balance while standing is a crucial aspect of mobility. Physiotherapists can test an individual's ability to stand or stand without support while doing tasks to determine whether they need a mobility aid.

3. Lying to Sitting

This measure of positional change assesses an older person's ability to move themselves up into a sitting position from lying down. The healthcare professional will ascertain whether the person can do it independently or with the help of one or more people.

4. Sitting To Standing

EMS measures the ability and ease of an individual to stand from a sitting position. Under ease of standing, the physiotherapists will evaluate whether the older adult can stand independently within the specified time. Also, the test will ascertain whether they need help standing from a sitting position.

5. Sitting To Lying

Another test of positional change is lying from a sitting position. Just like sitting from a lying position, can individuals lie down from a sitting position independently, or do they need assistance?

6. Timed Walk

How long does the individual take to cover a specific distance? Do they take longer or shorter, or can they walk the distance?

7. Functional Reach

Functional reach measures how far forward an individual can reach while maintaining balance in a standing position and without taking a step forward. The healthcare professional will determine an older adult's ability to reach forward without falling during physical therapy.

What Can You Do to Help?

Early assessment and detection of fall risk factors are crucial to ensuring a personalized fall prevention plan for your loved one. Now that you know the risk factors that determine your loved one's risk of falling, it is important that you take various steps to prevent it. If you suspect your loved one is developing mobility issues, getting appropriate caregiving help is a good option. Sarasota Bay Club is a luxury retirement facility that offers specialized in-home care services by professional caregivers. Contact us today to learn more!

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