Fall Risk Screening in the Elderly
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to increase fall screening for patients over the age of 65. Elderly individuals are at increased risk for falling, and at an increased risk of injury from falls. We set out to investigate if implementing more screening for this vulnerable population would identify those at risk. Methods: We used a simple "yes or no" questionnaire during Medicare annual wellness visits that identifies at-risk individuals based on different attributes that put an individual at higher risk for falling. Based on the answers, we evaluated if a patient is at risk, and, if so, what interventions can be implemented in order to decrease the risk of falling. Results: We were able to identify patients who required intervention to prevent future falls. Because there was no prior method of screening patients over the age of 65 for falls at this clinic, our post-intervention data was able to screen 75% of eligible patients. Conclusions: We found that a simple questionnaire can be a useful tool to determine which patients are at an increased risk. There were some limitations; due to COVID-19, many staff members were out for extended periods of time, thus limiting the amount of data collected. Additionally, as the questionnaire required additional time during a patient encounter, there was not time to survey every eligible patient. Moving forward, a systematic implementation for all Medicare visits would streamline the process and allow for further identification of those at risk for falls.