Improving Fall Risk Assessment in a Rural Primary Care Clinic

Date

2021

Authors

Fischer, Joseph
Qualls, James
Gibson, John
Hadley, Lesca

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0000-0002-3686-6688 (Fischer, Joseph)

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Abstract

Purpose: The Athens Family Medicine clinic serves many elderly patients with a history of falls. The practice does not have any screening tools that assess a patient's risk for future falls. This project aims to see if increasing or diversifying screening services will lead to an increased screening for future fall risks in adults ages 65 and older. Methods: In this project two established fall assessment tools, the 4-Stage Balance Test and a modified Chair Stand test, were used to assess the fall risk of the patients. A "high risk" or "moderate risk" or "no increased risk" determination was assigned based on the assessment findings. Results: There was a total of 52 patients seen in the clinic during the assessment period that were greater than or equal to 65 years old. 40 patients out of the 52 patients had their fall risk assessed; an improvement of 77% compared to prior to the start of the survey. Of the patients surveyed 15 (38%) were found to have no increased fall risk, 9 (22%) had a moderate fall risk, and 16 (40%) had a high fall risk. Conclusions: The project showed that the fall risk screening method used allowed for the majority of eligible patients to be screened during the screening period, showing an increase in screening services in patients ages 65 and older. The next step is to then have a more personalized patient conversation about fall risk and preventing falls for those at increased risk.

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