261736 Prevalence of Falling and Injuries in Older Adults with a Physical Disability

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:42 PM - 12:54 PM

Marcia Finlayson, OT, PhD , Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
Aimee Verrall, MPH , Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Patricia Matsuda, PT, PhD, DPT , Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Ivan Molton, PhD , Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Mark Jensen, PhD , Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Introduction. Falling among older adults is a wide-spread problem that often has devastating consequences for the individual and family. However, knowledge about the scope and correlates of falls among people aging with multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD), post-polio (PPS) and spinal cord injury (SCI) is very limited. Research in this area is particularly important because these individuals often experience problems with mobility, balance, sensation, and muscle power that place them at significant risk for both falls and injurious falls. Methods. Cross-sectional data were used from a survey of individuals aging (45 yrs +) with MS, MD, PPS, and SCI (n = 1,862). The survey contained 6 questions about falling. Logistical regression models were built to examine whether factors such as age, sex, and mobility were associated with falling. Results. The prevalence of falls reported in the last 6 months was 73% MD, 56% MS, 55%, PPS, 42% SCI. The rate of injurious falls was 23% MD, 19% MD, 22% PPS, 20% SCI. The major factor associated with falling in older adults across all 4 disabilities was limitations in mobility . Sex was only significant in people with MS, with women being less likely to fall than men. Younger and middle age categories tended to have an increased odds of falling. Conclusion. Preventing falls in persons with disabilities is of paramount importance. A better understanding of the frequency, severity, and correlates of falls is an important first step towards designing effective fall prevention and management programs for these individuals.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify what disability group is at greatest risk of falling. Describe the origins and nature of post-polio syndrome.

Keywords: Disability, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the research manager for a rehabilitation research and training center (RRTC) on Aging with a Physical Disability. My public health interests are in both aging and disability as well as the intersection of aging and disability. Other interests include hearing, social support, quality of life, and social determinants of health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.