A Study of Rate and Predictors of Fall Among Elderly Patients in a University Hospital

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Abstract

Introduction

Falls represent a serious problem facing hospital-admitted patients, and the severity of fall-related complications rises steadily after the age of 65 years.

Objectives

The aims of this study were (a) to calculate the rate of falls among elderly patients in the internal medicine departments in Ain Shams University Hospital, (b) to identify different predictors and characteristics of falls, and (c) to assess clinical consequences and hospitalization outcomes of falls.

Subjects and Methods

An observational longitudinal study has been conducted in Ain Shams University Hospital, where 411 elderly patients admitted to the internal medicine departments were included. Upon admission, the patients were assessed for their risk for falling using the Morse Fall Scale (MFS). Information about their medical condition and drugs administered was obtained. Functional assessment of the patients regarding their ability to perform different daily activities was also performed. The patients were followed up during their stay, and once a fall event occurred, complete details regarding the circumstances and consequences of that event were obtained.

Results

The incidence rate of falls was found to be 16.9 per 1000 patient days. The fallers had a significantly high risk for falling according to the MFS (P = 0.02). The MFS was able to predict patients at risk for falling and identified correctly 82.6% of the fallers. The most common medical conditions associated with falls were diabetes (48.7%), hypertension (58.7%), and visual impairment (41.3%). Anemia (P = 0.05) and osteoporosis (P = 0.02) showed a statistically significant difference between the fallers and the nonfallers. Presence of a history of a fall and increased length of hospital stay were highly significant (P = 0.01) factors that predisposed to falls. Logistic regression analysis showed that anemia, osteoporosis, and history of a fall were independent predictors of falls. Most falls had no serious consequences, approximately 18% had contusions, 2% had subdural hematomas, and 4% had fractures and lacerations.

Conclusions

Elderly patients with anemia, osteoporosis, and history of a fall are more prone to falls and should be considered in fall protective measures.

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