Predicting falls in elderly receiving home care: The role of malnutrition and impaired mobility

Meijers, Judith; Halfens, R.; Neyens, J.; Luiking, Y.; Verlaan, G.; Schols, J.
July 2012
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging;Jul2012, Vol. 16 Issue 7, p654
Academic Journal
To investigate the role of malnutrition, impaired mobility and care dependency in predicting fallers in older Dutch home care clients. Design: This study is a secondary analysis of data of the annual independent National Prevalence Measurement of Care Problems of Maastricht University. The design involves a cross-sectional, multicentre point prevalence measurement (malnutrition, mobility), and a 30 days incidence measurement (falls). Setting: Dutch home care organisations. Participants: 2971 clients (older than 65 years) from 22 home care organizations participated. Measurements: A standardized questionnaire was used to register amongst others data of weight, height, number and type of diseases (like for example neurologic diseases, dementia, CVA, COPD, eye/ear disorders, musculoskeletal disorders), nutritional intake, use of psychopharmaca, undesired weight loss, fall history, mobility, and care dependency. Results: The study was able to show that fallers are more often malnourished than non-fallers in the univariate analysis. Most importantly the study indicated by multivariate analysis that fallers could be predicted by the risk factors immobility ((OR 2.516 95% CI 1.144-5.532), high care dependency (OR 1.684 95% CI 1.121-2.532) and malnutrition (OR 1.978 95% CI 1.340-2.920). Conclusion: The findings of this study stress that malnutrition, impaired mobility and care dependency are potential reversible factors related to falls. Therefore early identification and management of nutritional status, impaired mobility and care dependency are important aspects for a possible fall prevention strategy.


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