Prevalence and risk factors for falls in an older community-dwelling population

Matteo Cesari, Francesco Landi, Sergio Torre, Graziano Onder, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Roberto Bernabei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Falls are responsible for considerable morbidity, immobility, and mortality among elderly people. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of falls and related intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors in a community-dwelling older population. Methods. An observational study was performed on all patients (N = 5570) admitted from 1997 to 2001 to home care programs in 19 home health agencies that participated in the National Silver Network project in Italy. Patient evaluation was performed through the Minimum Data Set-Home Care (MDS-HC) instrument. Results. A 35.9% falls prevalence was found within 90 days of the patient assessment through the MDS-HC instrument. After adjusting for all potential confounding factors, the logistic regression showed a high increase in risk of falling for those patients who wandered (odds ratio [OR] 2.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.81-3.12) or suffered with gait problems (OR 2.13; 95% CI 1.81-2.51). Patients affected by depression were more likely to fall (OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.36-1.73). Those who lived in an unsafe place with environmental hazards had an increase in the risk of falling (OR 1.51; 95% CI 1.34-1.69). The associations of main risk factors for falls were also evaluated. Conclusions. Rate of falls among frail elderly people living in the community is very high and frequently correlates with potentially reversible factors. To identify those with higher falling risk, home care staff and general practitioners could use the MDS-HC assessment tool.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume57
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing

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