Fall Etiology and Assessment

Fall Etiology and Assessment - #15

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Learn to assess multiple factors causing falls.

Elderly patient fall (home, institution)

Perform a “falls assessment” to determine possible contributing factors to patient falls when the etiology is not clear. Tripping without falling should also be evaluated as it helps to assess potential environmental risks. Repeated falls should be evaluated individually as they may have different etiologies.

  1. List 10 possible underlying etiologies that may contribute to falls in elderly patients.
  2. Describe the assessment of falls, as outlined below in figure 1.
  3. List 5 medical assessments (physical exam or lab studies) that may be done to further assess potential fall etiologies.
  1. Michael YL, Whitlock EP, Lin JS, Fu R, O'Connor EA, Gold R; US Preventive Services Task Force. Primary care-relevant interventions to prevent falling in older adults: a systematic evidence review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Dec 21; 153(12):815-25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21173416
  2. American Geriatrics Society, British Geriatrics Society, and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Panel on Falls Prevention. Guideline for the prevention of falls in older persons. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001; 49:664–672. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11380764
  3. Fuller, G. F. Falls in the elderly. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 1; 61(7):2159-2168. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10779256
This GFF ___ my competence in geriatrics.

Yana Thaker, Kathyrn Denson MD, Steven Denson MD, Bambi Wessel

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin