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Am Fam Physician. 2011 Dec 1;84(11):1267-76.

Management of falls in older persons: a prescription for prevention.

Author information

  • Louisiana State University Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, University Medical Center, Lafayette, 70506, USA. lmonca@lsuhsc.edu


Although falls are a common cause of injury in older persons, they are not just a normal part of the aging process. The American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society recommend that all adults older than 65 years be screened annually for a history of falls or balance impairment. An individualized risk assessment should be performed, with corresponding multifactorial intervention, for those who report a single fall and have unsteadiness; who report two or more falls; who report difficulties with gait or balance; or who seek medical attention because of a fall. The following components should be included in multifactorial interventions: exercise, particularly balance, strength, and gait training; modification of the home environment; minimization of medications, especially psychoactive medications; management of postural hypotension; and management of foot problems and footwear. These interventions are effective in decreasing falls and fall-related injuries in the community and nursing home settings, as well as in decreasing the number of persons who fall in the subacute hospital setting. Prevention of falls and, most importantly, of injury and death is possible. An evidence-based fall prevention prescription may be used to efficiently accomplish management.

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