Tinetti Balance Test

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This balance and gait model represents a clinical evaluation of fall risk. It is also known as the Tinetti Mobility Test or as the Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA).

It is used in various settings eg those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, motor neurone disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus and the elderly population.

Whilst in this test, the two sections need to be performed together in an integrated 10 to 15-minute assessment, if needed to check different functionality, the two sections may be used separately.

The balance section consists of 9 items whilst the gait section consists of 8 items. Each of these items has answer choices that are weighted on an ordinal scale from 0 to 1 or 2. This depends on the severity of the impairment that is observed, where 0 is most severe and 2 indicates the ability to perform said tasks independently. The balance section scores range between 0 and 16 whilst the gait section scores are between 0 and 12. Therefore the maximum attainable score in the Tinetti balance test is 28.

Use the following EVALUATION FORM to evaluate your patient and PRINT THE FORM when the evaluation is completed.

Tinetti score interpretation

The guideline is that the higher the score, the higher the degree of functional independence in the patient.

The following table introduces the three score categories and their interpretation:

Tinetti scoreFall risk interpretation
Below 19High fall risk
19 – 23Moderate fall risk
24 and aboveLow fall risk

Literature Original source

Tinetti ME, Williams TF, Mayewski R. Fall risk index for elderly patients based on number of chronic disabilities. Am J Med. 1986; 80(3):429-34.

Other references

1. Lin MR, Hwang HF, Hu MH, Wu HD, Wang YW, Huang FC. Psychometric comparisons of the timed up and go, one-leg stand, functional reach, and Tinetti balance measures in community-dwelling older people. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004; 52(8):1343-8.

2. Mancini M, Horak FB. The relevance of clinical balance assessment tools to differentiate balance deficits. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2010; 46(2): 239–248.

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