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High Specificity of Single Inertial Sensor-Supplemented Timed Up and Go Test for Assessing Fall Risk in Elderly Nursing Home Residents
The Timed Up and Go test (TUG) is commonly used to estimate the fall risk in the elderly. Several ways to improve the predictive accuracy of TUG (cameras, multiple sensors, other clinical tests) have already been proposed. Here, we added a single wearable inertial measurement unit (IMU) to capture the residents’ body center-of-mass kinematics in view of improving TUG’s predictive accuracy. The aim is to find out which kinematic variables and residents’ characteristics are relevant for distinguishing faller from non-faller patients. Data were collected in 73 nursing home residents with the IMU placed on the lower back. Acceleration and angular velocity time series were analyzed during different subtasks of the TUG. Multiple logistic regressions showed that total time required, maximum angular velocity at the first half-turn, gender, and use of a walking aid were the parameters leading to the best predictive abilities of fall risk. The predictive accuracy of the proposed new test, called i + TUG, reached a value of 74.0%, with a specificity of 95.9% and a sensitivity of 29.2%. By adding a single wearable IMU to TUG, an accurate and highly specific test is therefore obtained. This method is quick, easy to perform and inexpensive. We recommend to integrate it into daily clinical practice in nursing homes.