Author(s): Marschollek M, Nemitz G, Gietzelt M, Wolf KH, Meyer Zu Schwabedissen H,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Falls are among the predominant causes for morbidity and mortality in elderly persons and occur most often in geriatric clinics. Despite several studies that have identified parameters associated with elderly patients' fall risk, prediction models -- e.g., based on geriatric assessment data -- are currently not used on a regular basis. Furthermore, technical aids to objectively assess mobility-associated parameters are currently not used. OBJECTIVES: To assess group differences in clinical as well as common geriatric assessment data and sensory gait measurements between fallers and non-fallers in a geriatric sample, and to derive and compare two prediction models based on assessment data alone (model #1) and added sensory measurement data (model #2). METHODS: For a sample of n=110 geriatric in-patients (81 women, 29 men) the following fall risk-associated assessments were performed: Timed 'Up & Go' (TUG) test, STRATIFY score and Barthel index. During the TUG test the subjects wore a triaxial accelerometer, and sensory gait parameters were extracted from the data recorded. Group differences between fallers (n=26) and non-fallers (n=84) were compared using Student's t-test. Two classification tree prediction models were computed and compared. RESULTS: Significant differences between the two groups were found for the following parameters: time to complete the TUG test, transfer item (Barthel), recent falls (STRATIFY), pelvic sway while walking and step length. Prediction model #1 (using common assessment data only) showed a sensitivity of 38.5\% and a specificity of 97.6\%, prediction model #2 (assessment data plus sensory gait parameters) performed with 57.7\% and 100\%, respectively. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Significant differences between fallers and non-fallers among geriatric in-patients can be detected for several assessment subscores as well as parameters recorded by simple accelerometric measurements during a common mobility test. Existing geriatric assessment data may be used for falls prediction on a regular basis. Adding sensory data improves the specificity of our test markedly.
This article was published in Z Gerontol Geriatr
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation