Fall Risk

Falls are a leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among the aging population, accounting for around 800,000 hospitalizations per year according to the CDC. In 2015, falls cost the healthcare system more than $50 billion, with 75% of these costs going toward Medicare and Medicaid programs. Nearly half of all falls result in hip fractures and most traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls.

The causes of falls are varied and include lower body weakness, balance difficulty, vision problems, poor footwear and foot pain, and home hazards like throw rugs.

Assessment Tools

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's STEADI initiative offers a coordinated approach for fall prevention. Download the pocket guide for physicians here, and algorithm here.

Johns Hopkins Fall Risk Assessment Tool (JHFRAT), here. Purchase JHFRAT for your institution or read more about it here.

The Hendrick II Fall Risk Model™ looks at eight factors including the patient's emotional state, cognitive ability, medications, and general mobility. Download the Fall Risk Assessment for Older Adults: The Hendrick II Fall Risk Model™, here.

 

Morse Fall Scale measures risk by assessing fall history, secondary diagnoses, ambulatory aids, intravenous therapies, gait, and cognitive abilities. Download the Morse Fall Scale here.

Stratify Scale assesses fall risk by examining the patient's history of falls, patient agitation, toilet needs, and how frequently the patient needs to be transferred or moved. Download the Stratify Scale here.

 

Agencies and Community Resources​

 

HealthyAging.org provides helpful tips for making a safe home for patients at risk for falls, available here.

The CDC provides a useful checklist "Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults", available here.

A Matter of Balance (see video below) is a program offered by many Area Agency on Aging offices throughout Michigan. The program is an 8-week structured group intervention that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels. Read more about the program here.

 

To refer a patient or caregiver to a Michigan Area Agency on Aging and find one near you, visit the state webpage, here.

Educational Videos

Learn about Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Program - National Council on Aging

A Matter of Balance - National Council on Aging