Falls prevention services need to consider fear of falling

Falls prevention services need to consider self-perceived fall risk, as well as actual risk, researchers believe.

New recommendation could help preventing falls in elderly people
New recommendation could help preventing falls in elderly people

The recommendation follows a finding that those who believe they are likely to fall have a greater risk of falling. This increased risk is irrespective of risk of falling as assessed by other criteria.

The researchers studied 500 men and women aged 70–90 years for a year, carrying out clinical assessment and taking physiological, and neuropsychological measure. Physiological fall risk was estimated with the physiological profile assessment. Perceived fall risk was estimated with the falls efficacy scale international.

They found that high levels of perceived fall risk were likely to result in future falls, independent of physiological risk. They commented 'the disparity between physiological and perceived fall risk contributes to risk mainly through psychological pathways;.

Writing in the BMJ, the researchers concluded: 'Measures of both physiological and perceived fall risk should be included in fall risk assessments and the proposed disparity categorisation may assist in designing tailored interventions for preventing falls in elderly people.'

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