Lack of screening tools to detect first time injurious falls in older adults
More than 50% of all injury-related hospital admissions among persons aged 65 years and older are due to injurious falls. However, there is scarcity of tools that can be used to detect community-living older adults who are at risk of falling for the first time. The goal of this study was to create and validate a first-time injurious fall (FIF) screening tool to identify older adults at risk of falling over a 5-year period. Two NEAR population-based studies: the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Skåne (SNAC-S) and Blekinge (SNAC-B), n=2766, were used to validate the FIF screening tool.
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The FIF tool is a valid tool to use for prediction of first-time injurious falls in community-living older adults
Across both studies, the risk of an injurious fall in the high risk group of falling (e.g., those who are older, live alone, and have impaired balance) for women and men were 4 and 7 times higher, as compared to those in the low risk group. Overall, it was found that the FIF tool with 64-74% precision correctly identified those at high-risk of falling (and who did fall over a 5-year period), and with 69% precision correctly identified those at low-risk of falling (and who did not fall). In conclusion, the FIF is a valid tool to use for prediction of first-time injurious falls in community-living older adults. Moreover, the FIF tool can easily be used in primary care settings to identify older individuals at high-risk of falling and who may benefit from preventive interventions.
Photo of Nathalie Frisendahl, first author of the study.
Frisendahl N, Ek S, Rosendahl, E, Boström AM, Fagerström C, Elmståhl S, Welmer AK. Predictive Performance of the FIF Screening Tool in 2 Cohorts of Community-Living Older Adults. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21(12):1900-1905.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.04.037.