MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Research Fellow ,School of Medicine
Division of Primary Care University of Nottingham
University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: A simpler model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors) correctly classified as many observations (82%) as a more complex model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors + functional measures) with similar values for sensitivity and specificity in both models. There were significantly raised odds of FOF in the simpler model in those unable to rise from a chair of knee height (OR 7.39 (CI 2.48-22.07)), with a lower household income (4.58 (CI 1.23-17.07)), use of a walking aid (OR 4.32 (CI 2.29-8.17)), difficulty in using public transport (OR 4.02 (CI 1.77-9.11)), poorer perceived physical health (OR 2.85 (CI 1.35-6.04)), from a black/ minority ethnic group (OR 2.42 (CI 1.29-4.52)), with self-reported balance problems (OR 2.17 (CI 1.29-3.64)), with lower educational level (OR 2.01 (CI 1.20-3.37)), and a higher BMI (OR 1.06 (CI 1.02-1.09)).
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: 1 in 5 of a relatively active sample of community dwelling older people reported a FOF. A simpler model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors) correctly classified as many observations (82%) as a more complex model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors + functional measures)
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: FOF is relatively common even among active community dwelling older people. Such people can be readily identified in primary care using the factors found in our study, for example when registering with a general practice, at older peoples health checks, chronic disease management checks or medication reviews. Once identified they could be assessed for FOF using the Short FES-I. These people may benefit from falls prevention interventions that have been shown to reduce both falls risk and fear of falling.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Screening older people for fear of falling, even though it could be undertaken in existing primary care contacts, would have cost implications and these remain to be evaluated.