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Predicting falls in elderly receiving home care: The role of malnutrition and impaired mobility

Abstract

To investigate the role of malnutrition, impaired mobility and care dependency in predicting fallers in older Dutch home care clients.

Design

This study is a secondary analysis of data of the annual independent National Prevalence Measurement of Care Problems of Maastricht University. The design involves a cross-sectional, multicentre point prevalence measurement (malnutrition, mobility), and a 30 days incidence measurement (falls).

Setting

Dutch home care organisations.

Participants

2971 clients (older than 65 years) from 22 home care organizations participated.

Measurements

A standardized questionnaire was used to register amongst others data of weight, height, number and type of diseases (like for example neurologic diseases, dementia, CVA, COPD, eye/ear disorders, musculoskeletal disorders), nutritional intake, use of psychopharmaca, undesired weight loss, fall history, mobility, and care dependency.

Results

The study was able to show that fallers are more often malnourished than non-fallers in the univariate analysis. Most importantly the study indicated by multivariate analysis that fallers could be predicted by the risk factors immobility ((OR 2.516 95% CI 1.144–5.532), high care dependency (OR 1.684 95% CI 1.121–2.532) and malnutrition (OR 1.978 95% CI 1.340–2.920).

Conclusion

The findings of this study stress that malnutrition, impaired mobility and care dependency are potential reversible factors related to falls. Therefore early identification and management of nutritional status, impaired mobility and care dependency are important aspects for a possible fall prevention strategy.

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Correspondence to Judith Maria Mathea Meijers.

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Meijers, J.M.M., Halfens, R.J.G., Neyens, J.C.L. et al. Predicting falls in elderly receiving home care: The role of malnutrition and impaired mobility. J Nutr Health Aging 16, 654–658 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-012-0010-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-012-0010-7

Key words

  • Malnutrition
  • immobility
  • care dependency
  • falls
  • home care