A Simple Clinical Scale to Stratify Risk of Recurrent Falls in Community-Dwelling Adults Aged 65 Years and Older

The purposes of this study were: (1) to develop and validate a simple clinical scale to stratify risk for recurrent falls in community-dwelling elderly people based on easily obtained social and clinical items and (2) to evaluate the added value of 3 clinical balance tests in predicting this risk. A population of 1,618 community-dwelling people over 65 years of age underwent a health checkup, including performance of 3 clinical balance tests: the One-Leg-Balance Test, the Timed “Up & Go” Test, and the Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand Test. Falls were recorded using a self-administered questionnaire that was completed a mean (SD) of 25±5 months after the visit. Participants were randomly divided into either group A (n=999), which was used to develop the scale, or group B (n=619), which was used to prospectively validate the scale. Logistic regression analysis identified 4 variables that independently predicted recurrent falls in group A: history of falls, living alone, taking ≥4 medications per day, and female sex. Thereafter, 3 risk categories of recurrent falls (low, moderate, and high) were determined. Predicted probability of recurrent falls increased from 4.1% to 30.1% between the first and third categories. This scale subsequently was validated with great accuracy in group B. Only the Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand Test provided added value in the estimation of risk for recurrent falls, especially for the participants who were at moderate risk, in whom failure on the test (duration of >15 seconds) doubled the risk.

Clinicians could easily classify older patients in low-, moderate-, or high-risk groups of recurrent falls by using 4 easy-to-obtain items. The Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand Test provides added value to stratify risk for falls in people at moderate risk.

Buatois, S., Perret-Guillaume, C., Gueguen, R., Miget, P., Vancon, G., Perrin, P., Benetos, A.. A Simple Clinical Scale to Stratify Risk of Recurrent Falls in Community-Dwelling Adults Aged 65 Years and Older. Mar 4, 2010 Physical Therapy, online ahead of print

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Research article posted by: Rachael Lowe

Rachael Lowe is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Physiopedia. A physiotherapist and technology specialist Rachael has been working with Physiopedia since 2008 to create a resource that provides universal access to physiotherapy knowledge as well as a platform for connecting and educating the global physiotherapy profession.

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