Author(s): Rubenstein LZ, Vivrette R, Harker JO, Stevens JA, Kramer BJ
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Falls are a common, serious, and often unrecognized problem facing older adults. The objective of this study was to provide an initial clinical and statistical validation for a public health strategy of fall risk self-assessment by older adults using a Fall Risk Questionnaire (FRQ). METHODS: Adults age 65+ (n=40) were recruited at a Los Angeles Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility and at a local assisted living facility. Participants completed the FRQ self-assessment and results were compared to a "gold standard" of a clinical evaluation of risks using the American/British Geriatrics Society guidelines to assess independent predictors of falls: history of previous falls, fear of falling, gait/balance, muscle weakness, incontinence, sensation and proprioception, depression, vision, and medications. For the comparison, we used an iterative statistical approach, weighing items based on relative risk. RESULTS: There was strong agreement between the FRQ and clinical evaluation (kappa=.875, p<.0001). Individual item kappa values ranged from .305-.832. After dropping one FRQ item (vision risk) because of inadequate agreement with the clinical evaluation (kappa=.139, p=.321), the final FRQ had good concurrent validity. CONCLUSIONS: The FRQ goes beyond existing screening tools in that it is based on both evidence and clinical acceptability and has been initially validated with clinical examination data. A larger validation with longitudinal follow-up should determine the actual strength of the FRQ in predicting future falls. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article was published in J Safety Res
and referenced in Journal of Physiotherapy & Physical Rehabilitation