The development of a multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool for demented nursing home patients in the Netherlands

Neyens, Jacques C. L.; Dijcks, Béatrice P. J.; van Haastregt, Jolanda C. M.; de Witte, Luc P.; van den Heuvel, Wim J. A.; Crebolder, Harry F. J. M.; Schols, Jos M. G. A.
January 2006
BMC Public Health;2006, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p74
Academic Journal
Background: Demented nursing home patients are at high risk for falls. Falls and associated injuries can have a considerable influence on the autonomy and quality of life of patients. The prevention of falls among demented patients is therefore an important issue. In order to intervene in an efficient way in this group of patients, it is important to systematically evaluate the fall risk profile of each individual patient so that for each patient tailor-made preventive measures can be taken. Therefore, the objective of the present study is to develop a feasible and evidence based multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool to be used for tailoring preventive interventions to the needs of individual demented patients. Methods: To develop this multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool we have chosen to combine scientific evidence on the one hand and experts' opinions on the other hand. Firstly, relevant risk factors for falling in elderly persons were gathered from the literature. Secondly, a group of Dutch experts in the field of falls and fall prevention in the elderly were consulted to judge the suitability of these risk factors for use in a multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool for demented nursing home patients. Thirdly, in order to generate a compact list of the most relevant risk factors for falling in demented elderly, all risk factors had to fulfill a set of criteria indicating their relevance for this specific target population. Lastly the final list of risk factors resulting from the above mentioned procedure was presented to the expert group. The members were also asked to give their opinion about the practical use of the tool. Results: The multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool we developed includes the following items: previous falls, use of medication, locomotor functions, and (correct) choice and use of assistive and protective devices. The tool is developed for the multidisciplinary teams of the nursing homes. Conclusion: This evidence and practice based multidisciplinary fall risk evaluation tool targets the preventive interventions aimed to prevent falls and their negative consequences in demented nursing home patients.


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