Transient risk factors for falls: a case-crossover study

Summary

This project will investigate the contribution of transient risk factors (footwear, alcohol consumption, acute infections, dizziness) in falls in older people who have had recently left hospital. A case crossover study will be conducted among a subset of subjects who are participating in a large NHMRC-funded RCT (n=350) of exercise interventions for the prevention of falls in people recently discharged from two Sydney teaching hospitals.

Supervisor(s)

Associate Professor Cathie Sherrington

Research Location

City - The George Institute for Global Health

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

There have now been hundreds of studies seeking to investigate the role of various risk factors in falls in older people. However the contribution of transient risk factors remains unclear. Prospective cohort studies are usually the preferred methodology to assess the role of risk factors in falls, However cohort studies are not suited to transient risk factors as these risk factors may not be present at the single assessment which marks the start of the follow-up period. Case-crossover studies are ideally suited to the investigation of transient risk factors. For each individual subject, the presence of risk factors at the time of each fall can be compared with the presence of risk factors in control periods when falls did not occur. It is likely that transient risk factors such as footwear, alcohol consumption, acute infections and dizziness do contribute to falls but this has not been clearly demonstrated. Therefore interventions to address these risk factors are not routinely included in multifaceted falls prevention programs. In this study, interviews will be conducted and or questionnaires will be distributed to a subset of participants in a large NHMRC-funded RCT of exercise for falls prevention. Regular phone calls to participants will also be made. The presence of transient risk factors for falls will be compared in case periods (in which the person fell) and control periods in which the person did not fall.

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Keywords

Falls, injury, Aged Care, older people, risk factors, casecross-over study

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 727

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