Assessing Fall Risk in the Geriatric Population

Date

2021

Authors

Nance, Callie
Hadley, Lesca
Gibson, John
Daley, Rebecca

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0000-0001-7673-9467 (Nance, Callie)

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Abstract

Purpose Falls in the geriatric population are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and identifying patients at risk of falling can guide physicians in their next steps of preventative management. We implemented the Gait Speed Test into pre-wellness visits at the clinic to identify patients at greater risk of falling. Methods We tested the patients Gait Speed by having them sit in a chair, stand up and walk down a hallway that is marked on the side. When the patient passed the start line we began timing, and we stopped the timer when they walked 4 meters and passed the finish line. The time in seconds was divided by 4 meters, giving the "Gait Speed' which was recorded. Results were discussed at the wellness exam the following week. Results We tested 15 individuals during the month of November, which was 100% of the patients seen for pre-wellness exams. Of these, 5 were considered increased risk for fall (>5s/4m). We were able to counsel the patient on their individual situation and give them exercises to increase their strength and gait speed. Conclusions The Gait Speed Test proved to be a fast and efficient way to determine which patients need more time spent on education about fall prevention. The clinic is going to repeat the test annually to follow along with patients as they increase in age. This will hopefully be able to catch any decline in function in patients before it gets severe.

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