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New study shows that the screening tool (FIF) can prevent first-time injurious falls among older adults

An elderly couple are walking with walking sticks. Photo

Professor Sölve Elmståhl is co-author of the article Predictive Performance of the FIF Screening Tool in 2 Cohorts of Community-Living Older Adults which has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. The study shows that the screening tool First-time Injurious Fall (FIF) can identify fall risks in older men and women and be used for preventive purposes.

Injurious falls among older adults have economic and medical consequences and are a major public health problem. They can cause disability and death, and injurious falls account for more than 50% of all injury-related hospitalizations among people aged 65 and older.

The number of people who are seeking care because of an injurious fall is expected to increase in the future due to an aging population. The most prominent risk factor for future injurious falls is having experienced a previous fall. This suggests that there is a possibility to reduce the total number of falls by delaying or preventing the first fall.

The FIF tool is administered quickly and easily; it consists of 3 questions and a physical test (balance in one leg). Previously established risk factors for injurious falls are used in combination with reviews and meta-analyzes. Data from two cohorts from the National Study on Aging and Care (SNAC) have been used. Participants in the study were 60 years and older and came from two areas in Sweden, Skåne (SNAC-S) and Blekinge (SNAC-B).

Results from the study show that the FIF tool has an acceptable validity and that it can be used by primary care staff and other clinical staff to identify older adults in the community who are in the risk category. This enables preventive interventions, which can lead to a reduction in the total number of cases in the population.

The article is available on Lund University's Research Portal.