Recommendations for a core outcome set for measuring standing balance in adult populations: a consensus-based approach

Oxford
Published Date: 1 Mar 2015

ABSTRACT

Background

Standing balance is imperative for mobility and avoiding falls. Use of an excessive number of standing balance measures has limited the synthesis of balance intervention data and hampered consistent clinical practice.

Objective

To develop recommendations for a core outcome set (COS) of standing balance measures for research and practice among adults.

Methodology

A combination of scoping reviews, literature appraisal, anonymous voting and face-to-face meetings with fourteen invited experts from a range of disciplines with international recognition in balance measurement and falls prevention. Consensus was sought over three rounds using pre-established criteria.

Data sources

The scoping review identified 56 existing standing balance measures validated in adult populations with evidence of use in the past five years, and these were considered for inclusion in the COS.

Results

Fifteen measures were excluded after the first round of scoring and a further 36 after round two. Five measures were considered in round three. Two measures reached consensus for recommendation, and the expert panel recommended that at a minimum, either the Berg Balance Scale or Mini Balance Evaluation Systems Test be used when measuring standing balance in adult populations.

Limitations

Inclusion of two measures in the COS may increase the feasibility of potential uptake, but poses challenges for data synthesis. Adoption of the standing balance COS does not constitute a comprehensive balance assessment for any population, and users should include additional validated measures as appropriate.

Conclusions

The absence of a gold standard for measuring standing balance has contributed to the proliferation of outcome measures. These recommendations represent an important first step towards greater standardization in the assessment and measurement of this critical skill and will inform clinical research and practice internationally.

Contact 
Dr Kathryn M. Sibley
kathryn.sibley@umanitoba.ca