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  • Author or Editor: Zs. Gyombolai x
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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Material/Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

Purpose

Reduced functional mobility is a risk factor for falls. The Timed Up and Go test is a complex measurement tool for functional mobility. Our aims were to assess the functional mobility of: (a) community-living elderly who were participating in an exercise programme (n = 40; mean age = 73.7 years), (b) community-living elderly who were physically inactive (n = 40; mean age = 74.1 years), and (c) institutionalized elderly (n = 40; mean age = 73.5 years) and to compare the results with cut-off values for risk of fall.

Materials and methods

After measuring functional mobility, one-way independent ANOVAs and sample t-tests were used for analysis.

Results

The functional mobility of the active participants was better than that of the inactive (p < .001) and institutionalized participants (p < .001). There was no significant difference between the inactive and institutionalized participants (p = .990). The functional mobility of the active participants was better, whereas the functional mobility of the inactive participants was worse than the cut-off value of 13.5 s for risk of fall for community-living elderly. The functional mobility of the institutionalized participants did not differ from the 15-s reference value for predicting risk of fall.

Conclusion

The results indicate that regular physical activity has a positive effect on maintaining functional mobility among both community-living and institutionalized elderly individuals.

Open access