Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
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

OD Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health and
OD Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health and.
Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences, and Solvay Business School, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center