– Berg Balance Scale

  • See instructional video at bottom of this page

This test is comprised of 14 predetermined tasks and is designed to test a person’s ability to balance safely. (Physio-Pedia, n.d.)

DOWNLOAD Berg Balance Scale with COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS HERE:

Tools needed:

  • Yardstick
  • 15-foot walkway
  • Stopwatch, wristwatch, or device with a stopwatch
  • Two standard chairs (one with arm rests and one without arm rests)
  • Step or foot stool

SITTING TO STANDING

Patient is cued to stand up from a sitting position while trying not to use hands for support.

Goal: Patient is able to stand without using hands and stabilize independently

STANDING UNSUPPORTED

Patient is asked to stand for two minutes without holding onto anything

Goal: Patient is able to stand safely for 2 minutes

SITTING WITH BACK UNSUPPORTED BUT FEET SUPPORTED ON FLOOR OR ON A STOOL

Patient is instructed to sit on a stool or chair with arms folded for 2 minutes.

Goal: Patient is able to sit safely and securely for 2 minutes

STANDING TO SITTING

Patient is instructed to sit down on a chair from standing position

Goal: Patient sits safely with minimal use of hands

TRANSFERS

Chairs should be arranged for a pivot transfer. The patient is asked to transfer one way toward a seat with armrests and one way toward a seat without armrests. Two chairs may be used (one with and one without armrests) or a bed and a chair can be used

Goal: Patient is able to transfer safely with minor use of hands

STANDING UNSUPPORTED WITH EYES CLOSED

Patient is asked to close their eyes and stand still for 10 seconds

Goal: Patient is able to stand safely for 10 seconds

STANDING UNSUPPORTED WITH FEET TOGETHER

Patient places feet together and stands without holding onto anything

Goal: Patient is able to place feet together independently and stand safely for one minute

REACHING FORWARD WITH OUTSTRETCHED ARM WHILE STANDING

Patient is instructed to lift arm to 90 degrees, stretch out their fingers and reach forward as far as you can

Goal: Patient can confidently reach forward 25 cm (10 inches)

PICK UP OBJECT FROM THE FLOOR FROM A STANDING POSITION

Patient is instructed to pick up a shoe/slipper/light object, which is placed in front of their feet.

Goal: Patient is able to pick up slipper/shoe/object safely and easily

TURNING TO LOOK BEHIND OVER LEFT AND RIGHT SHOULDERS WHILE STANDING

Patient is asked to turn and look directly behind them, looking over their left shoulder. Repeat on the right side

Goal: Patient is able to look behind on both sides and their weight shifts well

TURN 360 DEGREES

Patient is asked to turn in a full 360-degree circle, pause, and then turn a full circle in the opposite direction.

Goal: Patient is able to turn 360 degrees safely in each direction in 4 seconds or less

PLACE ALTERNATE FOOT ON STEP OR STOOL WHILE STANDING UNSUPPORTED

Patient is instructed to place each foot alternately on the step or stool and continue until each foot has touched the step/stool four times.

Goal: Patient is able to stand independently and safely complete 8 steps in 20 seconds or less

STANDING UNSUPPORTED ONE FOOT IN FRONT

Patient is instructed to place one foot directly in front of the other. If the patient has difficulty and cannot place one foot directly in front, have the patient step far enough ahead so the heel of the forward foot is ahead of the toes of the other foot

Goal: Patient is able to place feet in a tandem position independently and hold 30 seconds

STANDING ON ONE LEG

Patient is instructed to stand on one leg as long as they can without holding onto anything

Goal: Patient able to lift leg independently and hold for 10 seconds or longer

SCORING: This test uses a five-point ordinal scale, ranging from 0-4. “0” indicates the lowest level of function and “4” the highest level of function.

Total Maximum Possible Score = 56 (Berg K, 1992)

Interpretation of Berg Balance Scale:

41-56 = Patient can walk independently

21-40 = Patient walks with assistance

0 –20 = Patient is wheelchair bound