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Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Jun 1;133(11):1179-90.

Risk factors associated with falls and injuries among elderly institutionalized persons.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205.


A case-control study among 184 matched pairs of patients 65 years of age and older was undertaken to identify risk factors associated with falls and injuries in a long-term care facility in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1984-1985. Patients were matched on length of stay. Variables of interest included sociodemography, functional status, medications, and diagnoses. For all levels of care combined, the following factors were associated (p less than or equal to 0.01) with increased falls: being able to walk (relative odds (RO) = 4.0), age 90 years and older (RO = 3.8), a history of falling (RO = 5.0), and taking a vasodilator (RO = 3.0). Among the 184 fallers, the diagnosis of dementia (RO = 7.5) or taking a diuretic (RO = 7.2) was positively associated with injury (p less than or equal to 0.01). In each of the analyses, medications were associated with falls or injuries, suggesting a feasible intervention. The combination of a history of falling, being able to walk, and being 90 years of age or older increased the relative odds to 51.9 and could alert clinicians to identify and monitor high-risk elderly persons in need of preventive measures.

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