Falls place older adults at risk for injuries, resulting in functional decline, hospitalization, institutionalization, higher healthcare costs, and decreased quality of life.
This study examined community-dwelling elderly to identify if individuals with a history of cancer fall at a higher rate than those without cancer, and if the occurrence of falls was influenced by individual characteristics, symptoms, or function.
This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study, in 2007, examining 7,448 community-dwelling elderly 65 years or older in a state in the Midwest. Fallers were identified based on a diagnosis of cancer, age, sex, race and ethnicity, poor vision, reduced activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, cognition, incontinence, pain, or depression.
Findings indicated that 2,125 (28.5%) had at least 1 fall. Of those who fell, 967 (13.0%) had cancer, and 363 (4.9%) with cancer had a fall.
Predictors of falls in this population included race, sex, ADLs, incontinence, depression, and pain, all with P <.05. Cancer was not a predictor of falls in this study.
Implications for Practice:
This study found a high frequency of falls and suggests a predictive model for fall risk in the vulnerable, community-dwelling elderly and will be used to inform future studies.