Assessment of potential risk factors for falls in osteoporotic elderly versus individual mobility considerations

Marek Żak, Szymon Krupnik, Wojciech Kiebzak, Agnieszka Stopa, Joanna Czesak

FP 2014; 14(1); 36-40



Background. Incidental falls are anxiously perceived by an increasing number of elderly persons as a clear symptom of ageing, potentially leading to permanent care-dependency.
Methods. The study population comprised 72 patients recruited from respective university clinic geriatric wards (aged 81- 95). A Timed UP & GO test (TUG) was applied (in line with Tinetti POMA protocol), to assess an individual risk of fall. Group I comprised the patients (48 women; x=84 years) who scored 14 seconds or more; Group II – the patients who scored 13.5 seconds or less (24 women; x=82 years).
Results.  When completing Tinetti (POMA) test, Group I women (TUG test scores of 14 seconds and more) ultimately scored below 19 points, i.e. their risk of fall was assessed as 5-fold greater than in their Group II peers (TUG test scores of 13.5 seconds and less).
Consequently, statistical significance of the correlation coefficients between the TUG and Tinetti (POMA) test scores was established as p < 0.05. In Group I (TUG > 14 s) this correlation coefficient was negative and equaled r = -0.74, whereas in Group II (TUG < 13.5 s) it was (r = -0.62). Conclusions. The TUG test makes up an effective diagnostic instrument for assessing a potential risk of fall (i.e. identify potential fallers) and may therefore be applied as an effective screening test for this group of patients. Community dwellers of higher functional capabilities, despite the risks related to osteoporosis, are far less likely to sustain an accidental fall. Key words: geriatrics, falls, osteoporosis, functional capabilities, Timed UP & GO test

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