Preclinical disability as a risk factor for falls in community-dwelling older adults

Clough-Gorr, Kerri M; Erpen, Thomas; Gillmann, Gerhard; von Renteln-Kruse, Wolfgang; Iliffe, Steve; Beck, John C; Stuck, Andreas E (2008). Preclinical disability as a risk factor for falls in community-dwelling older adults. Journals of gerontology. Series A - biological sciences and medical sciences, 63(3), pp. 314-20. Cary, N.C.: Oxford University Press 10.1093/gerona/63.3.314

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BACKGROUND: Falls are common and serious problems in older adults. The goal of this study was to examine whether preclinical disability predicts incident falls in a European population of community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: Secondary data analysis was performed on a population-based longitudinal study of 1644 community-dwelling older adults living in London, U.K.; Hamburg, Germany; Solothurn, Switzerland. Data were collected at baseline and 1-year follow-up using a self-administered multidimensional health risk appraisal questionnaire, including validated questions on falls, mobility disability status (high function, preclinical disability, task difficulty), and demographic and health-related characteristics. Associations were evaluated using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Overall incidence of falls was 24%, and increased by worsening mobility disability status: high function (17%), preclinical disability (32%), task difficulty (40%), test-of-trend p <.003. In multivariate analysis adjusting for other fall risk factors, preclinical disability (odds ratio [OR] = 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.5), task difficulty (OR = 1.7, 95% CI, 1.1-2.6) and history of falls (OR = 4.7, 95% CI, 3.5-6.3) were the strongest significant predictors of falls. In stratified multivariate analyses, preclinical disability equally predicted falls in participants with (OR = 1.7, 95% CI, 1.0-3.0) and without history of falls (OR = 1.8, 95% CI, 1.1-3.0). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides longitudinal evidence that self-reported preclinical disability predicts incident falls at 1-year follow-up independent of other self-reported fall risk factors. Multidimensional geriatric assessment that includes preclinical disability may provide a unique early warning system as well as potential targets for intervention.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Geriatric Clinic

UniBE Contributor:

Gillmann, Gerhard and Stuck, Andreas






Oxford University Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:04

Last Modified:

02 Nov 2019 18:25

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URI: (FactScience: 111530)

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