Modifiable and Nonmodifiable Risk Factors for Falls After Traumatic Brain Injury: An Exploratory Investigation With Implications for Medication Use

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Falls are a challenge for rehabilitation nurses, facilities, families, and individuals. Studies related to the causes of falls and potential strategies for risk management have been conducted across disability groups and with the elderly. Still, a focus on individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), specifically, has been limited. This paper presents a brief review of relevant research and the results of a preliminary investigation.


This study was a retrospective study of 125 individuals with TBI in residential treatment. Specific risk factors for falls in this population were identified.


Results indicate that age, injury severity, medical complications, specific medications and polypharmacy are significantly linked to falls in individuals with brain injuries. Specifically, the use of anticholinergic medications was associated with falls in this study.


The results of this study are limited both by the use of a convenience sample and the fact that it is an initial exploratory step to future multicenter research. Still, the resulting fall risk profile that emerged is an important consideration for rehabilitation practitioners working in brain injury.

Clinical Relevance:

Identifying those individuals with TBI most at risk for falling and taking appropriate measures to prevent falling, including consideration of both number and type of medication used, are important measures for rehabilitation teams working with this population to take.

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