Prevalence and determinants of fall risk among elderly inpatients at a tertiary care public teaching hospital

I. Rashid 1, P. Tiwari 2, S. Singh Lehl 3

1 PhD Scholar; 2 Department of Pharmacy Practice, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), S.A.S. Nagar, Punjab, India; 3 Department of General Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, India

Background. Falls in elderly people are a major concern in terms of disability, institutionalization, mortality and socioeconomic burden and are considered as one of the “Geriatric Giants”. 

Aim. To evaluate the risk of fall and risk factors associated with falls among elderly inpatients at a tertiary care public teaching hospital.

Materials and methods. This questionnaire based study utilized the “John Hopkins Fall Risk Assessment Tool” to assess the risk of falls among elderly inpatients. The data obtained from 235 participants reporting in the medicine department is presented. Based upon JHFRAT parameters, a well-determined score was obtained; and, the patients were categorized into “low” fall risk, “moderate” fall risk and “high” fall risk. The data was analyzed by performing Multinomial logistic regression.

Results. The patients in the study had an average age of 68.2 ± 0.4 years; and, had a high frequency of “moderate” fall risk and “high” fall risk (65.1 & 20%). Only 10.2% of patients have experienced a fall event within 6 months before hospitalization. It has been reported that the mobility functions, cognitive functions, high fall risk drugs and advanced age are major contributing factors. A positive correlation between high fall risk drugs and average fall risk score was observed. 

Conclusions. In India, falls among the elderly is an emerging public health problem and a hurdle to active ageing. Due to paucity of epidemiological research on falls in Indian population, further studies are required in order to minimize the negative impacts of falling on the patient’s physical, psychological, and social functional abilities.

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