This study established the concurrent validity and inter-rater reliability of a simple mobility scale for frail elderly people. Concurrent validity was established by correlating the Elderly Mobility Scale (EMS) score with Barthel and functional independence measure (FIM) scores for 36 patients, age 70–93 years. Spearman's rho was 0.962 with Barthel and 0.948 with FIM — highly significant correlations. Inter-rater reliability was established on 15 patients who were assessed independently by two physiotherapists. There was no significant difference between scores. The EMS provides physiotherapists with a standardised validated scale for assessment of frail elderly people and was designed to be used in conjunction with the assessment package recommended by the Royal College of Physicians and British Geriatric Society (1992). Further evaluation of the scale is recommended to assess its validity in other units, and to assess its predictive validity for discharge outcome and physiotherapy outcome. © 1994, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. All rights reserved.
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