Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Atzmon Tsur, MD and Zvi Segal, MD.
IMAJ 2010: 12: April: 216-219
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, one-sided). Forty-eight percent of the falls occurred during the first month after the last stroke onset, 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.