Occurrence and Predictors of Falls in People With Stroke Six-Year Prospective Study

Falling is a common consequence of neurological impairment and can be due to numerous and complex reasons however it is import to understand how often falls occur after a stroke as this can direct timescales of treatment and preventative input. The objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence of self-reported falls in people with stroke at 3, 6, and 12 months and 6 years post stroke and predictors for falls during 6 years. This was achieved through a prospective interview and assessment study design involving 121 persons with stroke. Generalized estimating equation modeling using proportional odds was used to explore the predictive value of fall history, functioning/disability, and personal factors during 6 years.  The proportion of fallers constituted of 35%, 26%, 33%, and 35% of the sample at 3, 6, and 12 months and 6 years of follow-up, respectively. Higher perceived effect of stroke on activities of daily living (odds ratio, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.80), falls at 3 months (odds ratio, 1.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–3.94), and no gait/balance disability at baseline (odds ratio, 7.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.99–26.73) were predictors for future falls.

During the 6 years, the odds for a fall decreased for participants with gait/balance disability at baseline but increased for those with no gait/balance disability. The conclusions which can be taken is that risk evaluations are essential for stroke patients even when balance and function is initially good as impairments may further develop over time.