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The Sixth Vital Sign: Gait Speed

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Date Published

June 13, 2017


Ohio Physical Therapy Association


Athletic Trainers, Gait Speed


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The clinical assessment of gait speed reflects the integrated performance of multiple organ systems, such as the nervous, sensory, musculoskeletal, and cardiopulmonary systems and has been referred to as the “sixth vital sign." Its assessment has been recommended as part of any standard inpatient geriatric evaluation. Gait speed has been shown to be an important clinical indicator of health and predictor of health outcomes. Gait speed has been shown to be a significant predictor of length of hospital stay, discharge disposition from hospital, probability of hospital readmission, and mortality. Gait speed has been suggested to reflect the likelihood of good health and better survival. The physical therapist plays an important role in assessing gait speed and identifying at-risk patients in many different practice settings. Once identified, modifiable factors can be identified and appropriate treatments may be initiated while admitted in hosp ital and beyond the patient’s hospitalization.

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Lisa Kohler

Lisa Kohler, Director of Clinical Education for Rehab Resources, has been a practicing Physical Therapist for over 25 years... Read More

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Program Titles and Supporting Materials

This program contains the following components:

The Sixth Vital Sign: Gait Speed - Video
The Sixth Vital Sign: Gait Speed - Handout
Gait Speed Excel Sheet
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How to Attend

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Technical Requirements
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