AGEM Author Spotlight October 2023

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Published Work by AGEM Member:  
Alex Lo MD Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University Department of Emergency Medicine



Life-Space Mobility: Normative Values from a National Cohort of U.S. Older Adults


Life-space is a proven measure of mobility and function in older persons, and a valid predictor of adverse health outcomes and health care utilization.  It is well-utilized in Geriatrics, but less in EM.  Yet, it is ideal for ED settings, as it can be measured quickly (5-10 minutes) via face-to-face interview or self-administration. Conceptually, life-space defines the spatial limits of one's life activities, e.g. describing if one is confined to one's bedroom, or if one travels out of town (these scenarios reflect the extreme limits of life-space).  Unlike physical measures of mobility (e.g. gait speed), life-space is a valid measure of mobility in physically disabled persons. For example, a wheelchair-bound 75y stroke survivor who travels out of town monthly will have fewer ED visits than an able-bodied 65y who goes no further than their residential property daily.

Despite the many studies on life-space, national normative life-space values for U.S. men and women have never been reported, so our work fills a significant evidence gap.

Alex Lo is an associate professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University Department of Emergency Medicine.  His academic interests involve mobility and function among older adults, as well as the delivery of emergency care and its associated outcomes within that patient population.