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Fam Pract. 2014 Jun;31(3):281-9. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmu002. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

Falls among older general practice patients: a 2-year nationwide surveillance study.

Author information

1
OD Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health and nicole.boffin@wiv-isp.be.
2
OD Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health and.
3
Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences, and Solvay Business School, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Falling among older persons is a multifactorial health condition needing multifactorial care. Several targeted preventive interventions and their coordination are considered to be general practitioner (GP)-specific tasks.

OBJECTIVES:

To estimate the incidence of falls among older non-institutionalized general practice patients in Belgium (2009-10) and to describe the main characteristics of falls, fallers and fall risks; factors associated with multiple fall risks and the co-occurrence of fall risks; patient status 3 months later and care delivery.

METHODS:

A 2-year nationwide cross-sectional study based on data collected by the Belgian network of Sentinel General Practices on all non-institutionalized persons aged ≥65 years consulting their GP for new fall-related injuries.

RESULTS:

Baseline data were collected on 1503 persons and valid follow-up data were available on 715 persons (79%). The yearly incidence of older persons with fall-related injuries was estimated at 2.5% of the older general practice population; 39% of patients had also received hospital care, physician-specialist or nursing home care. A multifactorial risk profile was observed in 59% and associated with increasing age, recurrent falling, falling at home and during lower level activity. The clustering of frailty-specific fall risks was higher than expected by chance. At follow-up, 46% of at-risk patients had received physical therapy, 47% were using assistive devices, and medication had been reviewed in 28% of patients taking psychopharmacy and 17% of patients with polypharmacy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study shows a high burden of care for fall-related injuries in older general practice patients and provides baseline data for its future monitoring.

KEYWORDS:

Accidental falls; comorbidity; family practice; public health surveillance.

PMID:
24532609
DOI:
10.1093/fampra/cmu002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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