Stadiometer how to measure height accurately

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How to measure height accurately
Careful measurement of total body height to determine whether height loss has occurred allows detection of hidden fractures.

Height Measuring Protocol
Patients aged 16+

  1. Ask patient to remove their shoes.

  2. Raise the headplate to allow sufficient room for patient to stand underneath it.

  3. The patient should stand with their feet flat on the centre of the base plate, feet together, and heels against the rod. Patient’s back should be straight as possible, preferable against the rod but NOT leaning on it. They should have their arms hanging loosely by their sides. They should be facing forwards.

  4. Move the patient’s head so that the Frankfort Plane is in a horizontal position (i.e parallel to the floor). The Frankfort Plane is an imaginary line passing through the external ear canal and across the lower bone of the eye socket, immediately under the eye. An additional check is to ensure that the measuring arm rests on the crown of the head, i.e. the top of the back half.

  5. Instruct the patient to keep their eyes focused on a point straight ahead and to breathe in deeply. Ask the patient to tell you when s/he feels the stadiometer plate touching their head by raising a hand.

  6. Ask the patient to step forwards. If the measurement has been done correctly the patient will be able to step off the stadiometer without ducking their head. Make sure that the head plate does not move when the patient does this.

  7. Record the patient’s height in centimeters and millimetres. If a measurement falls between two millimetres, it should be recorded to the nearest even millimetre.

Additional points-all patients

  • if the patient cannot stand upright with their back against the stadiometer and their heels against the rod (eg those with protruding bottoms) then give priority to standing upright.

  • If the patient has a hair style which stands well above the top of their head, (or is wearing a turban), bring the headplate down until it touches the hair/turban. If the patient is wearing a turban, or other religious headwear, explain to them what you want to do first and be guided by the patient. Never touch religious headwear without obtaining consent from the patient first.

Adapted from the Skills Building Hands on Workshop, Interdisciplinary Symposium on Osteoporosis (ISO14),
National Osteoporosis Foundation.

April 2014

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