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The Gerontologist, Vol 33, Issue 2 200-204, Copyright © 1993 by The Gerontological Society of America


Falls in dementia patients

PT van Dijk, OG Meulenberg, HJ van de Sande and JD Habbema
Center for Clinical Decision Analysis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

We analyzed the number and nature of falls in a nursing home for elderly patients with dementia. Staff reported 1,343 falls over a 2- year period in 240 patients, a rate of about 4 falls per person year. The risk of falling was especially high shortly after admission and after transfer to another ward, increased with severity of the dementia and physical impairment, and decreased for very severely demented or physically handicapped patients. Men had twice the risk of falling of women. Most incidents were relatively harmless, but 33 fractures were reported. The most common causes for falls were "inadequate (use of) materials, stumbling, or slipping" (17%) and "gait and equilibrium disturbances" (16%).

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Copyright © 1993 by The Gerontological Society of America.