Profiling the risk factors associated with falls in older people with diabetes receiving at-home nursing care: retrospective analysis of an Australian aged care provider database Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Falls among older people with diabetes mellitus (DM) are a major health concern. Preventive measures can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of falls. The aim of this study was to determine the factors most strongly associated with falls in older people living with DM who receive at-home care support services. This will inform home-visiting nurses to prioritise falls prevention strategies in the care of clients who are at high risk of falls. A retrospective analysis of routinely collected data from a large not-for-profit community aged care service provider was undertaken. The sample comprised adults aged ≥65 years residing in Victoria, Australia, with a recorded diagnosis of DM, and who received at least one episode of care by the aged care provider during July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Self-reported data on falls in previous 6 months was obtained via the Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool (CHAT). Selection of factors associated with falls was guided by the Falls Risk for Older People in the Community (FROP-Com) assessment tool. For the study population, data for these factors were obtained from clients' self-reported CHAT data, and from International Classification of Disease codes obtained from medical records. Descriptive statistics were used to identify the demographic and clinical profile; logistic regression was used to assess the strength of association between various factors and the occurrence of a fall. Data were obtained for 1,574 older adults; overall prevalence of falls was 30.6% (n = 482). Significant factors displaying the highest odds of falling were gait issues (OR: 2.11, p = 0.002); needing help to walk (OR: 1.91, p = <0.001); and cognitive dysfunction (OR: 1.55, p = 0.001). Interpreted with caution, several factors contribute to an increased odds of falling in older people with DM. Home-visiting nurses are uniquely placed to introduce preventive interventions to reduce the likelihood of debilitating falls in this population.

publication date

  • October 20, 2020

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