Physical performance and quality of life in single and recurrent fallers: data from the Improving Medication Prescribing to Reduce Risk of Falls study

Nicole D A Boyé, Francesco U S Mattace-Raso, Esther M M Van Lieshout, Klaas A Hartholt, Ed F Van Beeck, Tischa J M Van der Cammen
Geriatrics & Gerontology International 2015, 15 (3): 350-5

AIM: Although guidelines regarding falls prevention make a clear distinction between single and recurrent fallers, differences in functional status, physical performance, and quality of life in single and recurrent fallers have not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, we investigated the differences in functional status, physical performance and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) between single and recurrent fallers.

METHODS: From October 2008 to October 2011, 616 community-dwelling older adults who visited the emergency department as a result of a fall were enrolled. Physical performance was assessed with the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test, the Five Times Sit to Stand (FTSS) test, handgrip strength and the tandem stand test. Functional status was measured using the activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living scales. HRQoL was measured using the European Quality of Life five dimensions (EQ-5D), and the Short Form-12 version 2. A general linear model was used to compare the means of the scores.

RESULTS: Recurrent falls in community-dwelling older adults were associated with poorer physical performance as measured by the TUG test (P < 0.001), FTSS test (P = 0.011), handgrip strength (P < 0.001) and tandem stand (P < 0.001), and lower HRQoL scores as measured by the EQ-5D (P = 0.006) and SF-12 (P = 0.006 and P = 0.012).

CONCLUSION: The present findings provide further evidence that recurrent fallers have poorer physical performance and quality of life than single fallers. Recurrent falls might be a symptom of underlying disease and frailty, and reason for further assessment.

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