What Does the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) Look Like?

The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is one of several tests designed to measure physical performance in older adults. The SPPB focuses exclusively on lower extremity function and has many advantages over other tests, including standard parameters of measuring physical function that can be used uniformly across almost all clinical and research settings and high predictiveness of disability onset and other adverse outcomes for older patients.

The National Institutes on Aging offers free resources for health care providers on how to use the SPPB assessment. The package contains complete instructions on the administration of the assessment, safety tips, a scoring sheet as well as a sample of literature that supports the methodology behind the battery.

As health care for a growing aging population becomes increasingly complex, the use and integration of the SPPB will be crucial for quality geriatric care and for the prevention of the onset of functional decline and disability. Already, approximately 20% of the older U.S. population is functionally disabled, and this number will only continue to rise as the Baby Boomer generation begins to reach advanced age.

The AIM Coalition is working to raise awareness around the costly and detrimental health care issue of sarcopenia and related functional decline. Greater recognition and resources on part of policymakers and regulators are key to pushing forward on opportunities in research and treatments that already exist around physical performance, age-related muscle loss and related functional decline. A wider understanding of physical performance assessment and functional decline will also open doors in the area of clinical trial development to include, rather than exclude, patients with complex health care needs to ensure that older Americans will benefit from new treatments and enjoy a higher quality of life in their later years.

If you are interested in supporting healthy aging and greater research and innovation around sarcopenia and related functional decline, become a member of AIM now.