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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2008 Oct;1(4):245-51. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20081001-03.

Depression and risk for adverse falls in older home health care patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Weill-Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, White Plains, New York 10605, USA.


Because falls are highly prevalent, harmful events for older adults, identification of patients at risk is a high priority for home health care agencies. Using routine administrative data, we demonstrated that patients with depressive symptoms on the Outcome and Assessment Information Set are at risk for falls. A prospective case-control study that matched 54 patients who experienced an adverse fall with 854 controls showed that patients who fell had twice the odds of being depressed (odds ratio = 1.90, 95% confidence interval = 1.01 to 3.59). Bowel incontinence, high medical comorbidity, stair use, injury and poisoning, memory deficit, and antipsychotic medication use were also predictors, but no association was found for antidepressant medications. These data suggest the potential benefit of including depression screening for multifactorial fall prevention interventions.

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