Author(s): ShumwayCook A, Baldwin M, Polissar NL, Gruber W
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The objective of this retrospective case-control study was to develop a model for predicting the likelihood of falls among community-dwelling older adults. SUBJECTS: Forty-four community-dwelling adults (> or = 65 years of age) with and without a history of falls participated. METHODS: Subjects completed a health status questionnaire and underwent a clinical evaluation of balance and mobility function. Variables that differed between fallers and nonfallers were identified, using t tests and cross tabulation with chi-square tests. A forward stepwise regression analysis was carried out to identify a combination of variables that effectively predicted fall status. RESULTS: Five variables were found to be associated with fall history. These variables were analyzed using logistic regression. The final model combined the score on the Berg Balance Scale with a self-reported history of imbalance to predict fall risk. Sensitivity was 91\%, and specificity was 82\%. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: A simple predictive model based on two risk factors can be used by physical therapists to quantify fall risk in community-dwelling older adults. Identification of patients with a high fall risk can lead to an appropriate referral into a fall prevention program. In addition, fall risk can be used to calculate change resulting from intervention.
This article was published in Phys Ther
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