Background: A fall in old age is known as a common consequence of frailty and decline as well as a risk factor for further falls. Studies identifying hip fracture patients who are at risk of a further fall are lacking. Therefore it was of interest to evaluate the risk factors for falling in a high-risk population, i.e., patients during rehabilitation after recent proximal femur fracture. Methods: 935 consecutive patients who had surgical intervention after acute fracture of the proximal femur underwent a multidimensional assessment within the first two days after admission to the rehabilitation ward. Falls during the stay on the rehabilitation ward were registered. The baseline data were compared between fallers and non-fallers. Findings: 11.8% of the patients fell during rehabilitation. Risk factors associated with a fall were increasing age, male gender, type of surgery, the use of a rollator and nocturnal urinary incontinence. The risk of falling increased in the middle of the second week of rehabilitation, when frailer patients gained mobility and ability to walk by themselves, while they were not yet safe enough. Interpretation: It was possible to compose a risk profile for future falls. Those identified as 'at risk of a further fall' should be selectively offered protective devices and special training programs in order to prevent future fractures. As for the surgical intervention, the type of surgery in relation to age and long-term outcome is of particular interest since the use of the more expensive total hip arthroplasty procedure may be more cost effective in the long term.

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Zeitschrift fur Gerontologie und Geriatrie
Department of Internal Medicine