Falls in stroke patients: Risk factors and risk management

Atzmon Tsur, Zvi Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Falls are common events among hospital inpatients and constitute a major health problem in the rehabilitation setting. Many risk factors for falls have been identified for stroke patients, such as muscle weakness, medication side effects, hypoglycemia, hypotension, etc. Objectives: To assess the risk factors for falls among patients hospitalized for rehabilitation following acute stroke. Methods: In a retrospective study of 56 falls over a period of 5 years in 41 stroke patients hospitalized for rehabilitation we surveyed the nurses' safety risk assessment of the fall. Thirty patients fell once, 9 patients twice and 2 patients four times. The data were obtained from the medical and nursing records. Safety precautions were taken by the nurses for the entire group of patients. Results: Most of the falls occurred among male patients who had reduced muscular tone (70%), paralysis (54%) and/ or hypoesthesia in the involved side of the body. Patients who suffered from hemiplegia fell more often than those with hemiparesis (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = 0.04, onesided). Forty-eight percent of the falls occurred during the first month after the last stroke, 70% during the morning or the afternoon, and 62% occurred close to the patient's bed. In 89% of falls the patients used hypoglycemic, antihypertensive, tranquilizing or neuroleptic drugs. Communication disorders (29%), hemianopia or blindness (21%) and visuospatial agnosia (18%) were incremental risk factors for falls. Fifty percent of the falls were caused by either an intrinsic or extrinsic mechanism. Conclusions: These data suggest that the group of stroke patients at risk for falls in a rehabilitation department can be identified by a variety of impairment and functional assessments. The information may be potentially useful for designing interventions directed at reducing fall frequency among stroke survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-219
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Falls
  • Rehabilitation
  • Risk factors
  • Risk management
  • Stroke patients

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