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Table 8 Summary table of the Functional Reach test as a falls assessment tool

From: Predicting falls in older adults: an umbrella review of instruments assessing gait, balance, and functional mobility

Review Review characteristics Risk of bias Summary of key findings Interpretation
Chen-Ju Fu [39] Meta-analysis
(n = 15)
Elderly aged over 65 years who can walk without assistance
High low heterogeneity (I2 = 0%) and significant group difference (−3.44 cm [−4.60–-2.28], p < 0.001, between the two studies. Favorable
Nakamura [20] Narrative
No study number or characteristics to extract
High Reported as one of the most common tests and reported as having predictive ability but no results given. Unclear
Scott [35] Systematic review without meta-analysis
(n = 7)
Mixed settings
High Community (n = 4):
- reported in 1 study as 73% sensitivity and 88% specificity.
Long term care (n = 2):
- no data to extract
Acute (n = 1):
- reported in 1 study as 76% sensitivity and 34% specificity.
Dolatabadi [26] Systematic review without meta-analysis
(n = 1)
Older adults with diagnosis of dementia
Unclear Significant findings reported in a dementia population (p = 0.02) Favourable
Kozinc [40] Meta-analysis
(n = 17)
No details of characteristics
Unclear SMD (95%CI) -0.33 (−0.62, −0.04), p = 0.03, positive values indicate a higher value in fallers Not favourable
Lusardi [9] Meta-analysis
(n = 2)
Unclear Functional reach distance < 22 cm points, positive likelihood ratio 7.9, negative likelihood ratio 0.5, posttest probability with a positive test 77%, posttest probability with a negative test 17%. Sensitivity 55%, specificity 93%. Favourable
Omana [31] Meta-analysis
(n = 21)
Unclear For the outcome of any fall, the respective
ranges of sensitivity and specificity were 0.73 and 0.88 for the FRT,
0.47 to 0.682 and 0.59 to 0.788 for the modified FRT, (n = 8)
Rosa [43] Meta-analysis
(n = 5)
Mixed settings
Unclear FRT was not capable of predicting falls (p = 0.098). The group of older adults who had not fallen presented values 2.30 cm greater (95% CI −0.43-5.04) than those who had fallen in the follow-up period.
There is evidence to support the use of the FRT to assess dynamic balance but not to support its use to predict falls.
Not favourable
Muir [42] Meta-analysis
(n = 3)
Mixed settings
Unclear No data to extract but indicates non-significant findings. Not favourable
  1. Abbreviations: CI Confidence interval, FRT Functional Reach Test, n number of included studies included, SDM Standardized mean difference