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Circumstances and consequences of falls in the Fall Evaluation and Prevention Program: Preliminary findings

Mary J Findorff, MPH, PhD1, Nancy M. Nachreiner, PhD, MPH, BSN1, Jean F. Wyman, PhD, RN1, Teresa C. McCarthy, MD2, and Jennifer A. Peters, PhD, RN1. (1) School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, 308 Harvard St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, 6126246933, find0003@umn.edu, (2) Family Practice and Community Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Purpose: Unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and nonfatal injuries for older adults. This research focuses on a comprehensive description of fall circumstances and consequences reported during the Fall Evaluation and Prevention Program.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial enrolled 272 community-dwelling women age 70 or older and at-risk for falls into a 2-arm study: tailored fall prevention and attention control. All participants self-report falls monthly for two-years post-intervention.

Results: During 4185 months, 115 women (44%) reported 217 falls (0.62 falls per subject year, 0.83 falls per person); 70 women (61%) reported 1 fall, 45 (39%) had two or more. Overall, 109 falls (50%) were injurious. The most common injuries were soft tissue injuries (31%), abrasions (10%), and fractures of the hip (2%), wrist (1%), or rib (1%); days with pain ranged from 0 to 30. Following falls, 36 women (17%) needed help rising; 13 (6%) were unable to resume usual activities.

Falls occurred primarily indoors, most frequently in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and stairs. Participants indicated inattentiveness, loss of balance, and rushing contributed to falls. Trips caused 76 falls (35%), slips caused 39 (18%). Seventy-five women (35%) reported carrying items at the time of the fall, while 37 (17%) reported reaching/leaning.

Conclusions: A better understanding of the circumstances surrounding falls and the injury consequences of falls will assist in refining the most effective interventions for older community-dwelling women at risk for falling. With over 50% of falls reported as injurious, a significant need exists for effective interventions.

Learning Objectives: At the close of the session, participants will be able to describe

Keywords: Injuries, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Age Specific Injury Patterns Poster Session

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA