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Is Walking Speed Really the 6th Vital Sign? The Walking Speed Test

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3m of CPD
The walking speed test involves patients being measured on the speed with which they can walk a specific distance. Its simplicity and ease of use have made it a popular test for assessing everything from functional status to the need for rehabilitation. Some consider it ‘the sixth vital sign'.

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Measuring walking speed seems like a simple test but, it is a robust one. The walking speed test consists of exactly what its name specifies - patients are measured on the speed with which they can walk a specific distance. Its simplicity and ease of use have made it a popular test for assessing everything from functional status to the need for rehabilitation. Therapists have coined the phrase ‘the sixth vital sign’ as a useful way to describe the powerfully predictive nature of walking speed

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Meet the educator

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Andrea Salzman
Andrea Salzman, MS, PT graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master’s degree in physical therapy in 1992. Over the last two decades, she has held numerous prominent leadership roles in the physical therapy field, with a heavy emphasis on academic writing and administrative functions. Between 1995 and 1998, Salzman served as the Editor-in-Chief of an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) journal. In 2010, Salzman received one of the highest honors given to a physical therapist from the American Physical Therapy Association, the Judy Cirullo Leadership Award. Between 2012 and the present, Salzman has written 12 physical therapy courses for Care2Learn, Relias Learning and reviewed over 100 other course offerings. Currently, Salzman continues in her writing, leadership and administrative roles at Aquatic Therapy University and 10K Health.
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marguerite walsh
27 May 2020
good information
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