Abstract TP318: The Circumstances and Consequences of Post-stroke Falls
Introduction: Three-quarters of people with stroke sustain a fall. Fall risk and risk for injury persists into the chronics phases of stroke recovery. Currently, the circumstances surrounding post-stroke falls are not well understood; identifying these circumstances is a key step in the development of fall prevention programs. Likewise, the consequences of falls during the chronic phases of stroke are largely unexplored.
Objectives: The objectives of the study were to identify the circumstances and consequences of post-stroke fall events.
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of data derived from a large trial. To be included in the trial and these analyses, participants had to have survived a stroke and had a diagnosis of hypertension or blood pressure >140/90 mmHg. Demographics and stroke characteristics were recorded. Patients were asked about falls prospectively over the one-year study period. Once a fall event was identified, chart review and interviews were used to obtain information regarding circumstances and consequences of the fall. Fall circumstances were separated into intrinsic/personal and environmental categories including: falls with activity; falls with movement; falls due to trips or slips; falls related to a physical or mental state; location of the fall; and the season when the fall occurred. Consequences of falls were classified according to type of injury (laceration, fracture) and medical care received.
Results: A total of 53 of the 225 (33%) participants reported a fall; 70% of falls occurred at home and 40% of falls were associated with impaired physical or mental state (e.g., falling asleep and falling out of a chair or inattention to tying shoes, or forgetting to use a device). Additionally, 21% of falls were associated with activities, 21% with mobility, and 34% with slips or trips. The majority of people who fell sustained an injury (72%); injuries ranged from bruising to fractures and 55% of those with an injury sought medical care (32% to emergency).
Conclusion: Post-stroke falls are associated with an alarming rate of injury and healthcare utilization. Targeting mental and physical states may be key to fall prevention programming for people with chronic stroke.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.