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Falls in older age are the result of the interaction of several modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors. Risk factors for falls may vary in frequency not only in different economic and cultural contexts but also in different forms of care services among the older population. The aim of the present cross-sectional descriptive observational study was to assess the prevalence of risk factors for falls among older ambulant patients on a chronic inpatient ward in Hungary.


Data associated with risk factors for falls, such as age, sex, chronic physical and mental illness, acute illness, incontinence, history of falls, balance and gait disorder, and visual impairment, were collected from 82 participants. The frequency of these risk factors in our sample was compared with their prevalence in the elderly population living at home — based on data available in the literature and statistical databases — using chi-square tests.


Our results show that the prevalence of hypertension, cerebrovascular events, dementia and diabetes are significantly higher in the elderly population in chronic inpatient care than in the elderly population living at home. There is also a significantly higher prevalence of balance disorders and the use of sedatives/sleeping pills/neuroleptics in the studied population. Cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and Parkinson's disease are equally prevalent in both populations.


In the case of many of the patients admitted to chronic inpatient care, there is a real chance that their physical condition will improve or stabilise to the point where they can return to their own homes or be moved to a nursing home. This kind of rehabilitation approach to chronic inpatient care would require many more qualified nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and social workers than are currently available.

Open access