OBJECTIVE: To develop screening tools for predicting falls in nursing home and intermediate-care hostel residents who can and cannot stand unaided. DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective cohort study in residential aged care facilities in northern Sydney, New South Wales, June 1999-June 2003. PARTICIPANTS: 2005 people aged 65-104 years (mean +/- SD, 85.7+/-7.1 years). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic, health, and physical function assessment measures; number of falls over a 6-month period; validity of the screening models. RESULTS: Ability to stand unaided was identified as a significant event modifier for falls. In people who could stand unaided, having either poor balance or two of three other risk factors (previous falls, nursing home residence, and urinary incontinence) increased the risk of falling in the next 6 months threefold (sensitivity, 73%; specificity, 55%). In people who could not stand unaided, having any one of three risk factors (previous falls, hostel residence, and using nine or more medications) increased the risk of falling twofold (sensitivity, 87%; specificity, 29%). CONCLUSIONS: These two screening models are useful for identifying older people living in residential aged care facilities who are at increased risk of falls. The screens are easy to administer and contain items that are routinely collected in residential aged care facilities in Australia.