How to Measure Balance Using the Berg Balance Scale
Balance is a person’s ability to stand upright or maintain a center of gravity without swaying to the left or right. If a person has good balance he can accomplish the movements of sitting, standing, walking, and reaching safely. The Berg Balance Scale was developed in the early part of the 1990s as a tool for measuring balance in the aged population. It is considered a safe, dependable, and effective way to assess a person’s balance.
Instruct the client to stand up from a sitting position, while trying not use her hands for support. Once the client is standing, instruct her to stand for two minutes without support. The standing motion should be timed and afterward both actions should be evaluated and scored according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Instruct the client to continue standing, but to close his eyes. This task should be performed for roughly 10 seconds. Next, have the client to place his feet together and stand for roughly 1 minute without any support. Evaluate the client’s ability to perform both tasks and then score according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Place a small object at the client’s feet. Instruct the client to bend over and pick up the object without any assistance. Next, stand behind the client, to the left, and have her turn and look at you over her left shoulder. Move behind the client to the right and have her turn and look at you over her right shoulder. Evaluate the client’s ability to perform the two tasks according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Have the client turn in a complete circle, stop, and then turn in the opposite direction. Get a stool and have the client alternate placing his feet on it one at a time. This action should be repeated until each foot has touched the stool a minimum of four times. Evaluate and score the two tasks according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Inform the client to place one foot in front of the other with the heel of one foot touching the toes of the other. Have the client stand this way for at least 30 seconds without support or assistance. Next, have the client stand on one foot as long as possible while you time the action. Evaluate and score the tasks according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Have the client bring her arms up to about a 90-degree angle. Once the arms are in position, have the client reach forward as far as possible. Measure the distance the fingers reach while the client is in the most forward leaning position. Next, instruct the client to sit down; he should start from the standing position. The two actions should be scored according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Instruct the client to fold his arms over his chest while sitting. The arm movement should be held for 2 minutes, but only if the client is unable to stand upright and unsupported for 2 minutes. The sitting motion with arms folded over the chest should be timed and evaluated according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Test the client’s transfer ability. Ask the client to transfer one toward the seat with armrests and one toward the seat without armrests. Evaluate and score actions according to the Berg Balance Scale.
Add up all the numbers corresponding with the actions that the client completed after all the exercises are complete. Judge the client’s overall ability to perform the above tasks while maintaining a sensible amount of balance. If the client scores from 0 to 20, she is at a high fall risk. If the client scores from 21 to 40, the fall risk is medium. Any scores over 40 means that there is a low risk of the client falling.