DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afad246.100 ISSN: 0002-0729

1964 Wearable devices to measure gait and balance remotely that could be used in Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment: A scoping review

J Bollen, N Morley, E Arjunaidi Jamaludin, A Hall, A Bethel, A Mahmoud, T Crocker, H Lyndon, S Del Din, J Frost, V Goodwin, J Whitney
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • General Medicine



Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) is widely used in the management and assessment of older people living with frailty, however optimal ways of delivering CGA are not well understood. Gait and balance impairments, common in those living with frailty, are assessed in CGA. Advancements in digital technology provide opportunities to improve patient outcomes by digital monitoring, rather than observation-based assessments - which may be less accurate. As part of the Digital and Remote Enhancements for the Assessment and Management of older people living with frailty (DREAM) study, the aim of this review was to identify devices to assess gait and balance remotely, to enhance CGA.


Searches were conducted across six databases. Papers published since 2008 were included if: participants were over 65; evaluated gait or balance using wearable technology suitable for community use; presented data on validity, reliability, or acceptability of the device.


Of 6,203 papers identified, 48 papers were included evaluating 49 devices. 35 evaluations assessed gait, 7 assessed balance, and 7 assessed gait and balance. The most common modality was a single sensor (n= 30) on a participants’ back (n=22). Seven studies assessed more than one aspect of validity, but the majority examined criterion validity (n=35) and reliability (n=12). Good-excellent agreement between the wearable and a comparable method of analysing gait/balance was found in 15 studies. Devices could distinguish between healthy populations and those with Parkinson’s disease (n=8), cognitive impairment (n=4), falls (n=4), mobility disability (n=3) and frailty (n=3).


Wearable technologies offer accurate and reliable assessment of gait and balance that could be used to enhance CGA. These tools could be applied remotely in domiciliary settings, freeing up healthcare professionals to focus on other components of CGA, such as ensuring the delivery of interventions to address identified gait and balance impairment.

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