The aim of the study (part of the Progetto Longitudinale Gussago) was to evaluate the variables related to the difficulty in rising from a bed in 2 groups of elderly patients: nursing home residents, and patients admitted to a geriatric evaluation and management unit. Functional ability was tested through the bed rise difficulty scale (BRD). The version used in this study considered only those 7 items (out of 12) found to be of value. Only those patients who were able to rise from bed without help were selected in order to achieve the aim of the study (33 males, 113 females; mean age 79.6 ± 7.3 years). Although the 146 patients assessed were considered as having a good functional level (Tinetti score 18.8 ± 6.9, ADL Katz score 1.6 ± 1.4), most of them had high scores on the BRD scale, indicating the ability of this scale to detect early, mild disability. The total score of the BRD scale was significantly related to the ADL Katz (r = 0.29, p = 0.000), Tinetti scale (r = ––0.39, p = 0.000) and physical performance test (PTT; r = ––0.47, p = 0.000). Similar results were obtained for the correlation between BRD time and ADL Katz (r = 0.033, p = 0.000), Tinetti scale (r = ––0.30, p = 0.000) and PPT (r = ––0.46, p = 0.000). In a logistic regression analysis the items of the PPT scale considering upper extremity function and Tinetti balance score were significantly associated with the total bed rise time and score.