Postural instability, recurrent falls and fear of falling are common in advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). We examined the impact of fall frequency, fear of falling, balance confidence and objectively measured balance impairment (using Tinetti's Mobility Index) on health-related quality of life (HrQoL) in PD. In 74 subjects HrQoL was assessed using the 39-item Parkinson's disease Quality of Life Questionnaire [PDQ-39]. Patients were interviewed using a validated falls questionnaire, addressing fall history, consequences of falls and fear of falling. Neurological examination included Hoehn and Yahr scale, the Unified Parkinson's disease Rating Scale and Tinetti's Mobility Index. Disease severity, age and gender explained 43% of the differences in HrQoL across patients (R2 = 0.43). The combination of these factors and each of the factors fear of falling, balance confidence and fall frequency lead to 55%, 50% and 45% of explained variation, respectively. The standardised regression coefficients of these risk factors were 0.34 (fear of falling), 0.28 (balance confidence) and 0.13 (fall frequency). This suggests that fear of falling is a more important determinant of HrQoL than actual falling. These results emphasise the importance of addressing fear of falling in the clinical management of PD, and the need for development of strategies to reduce fear of falling in intervention programs.

Accidental falls, Parkinson disease, Postural balance, Quality of life,
Journal of Parkinson's Disease

Grimbergen, Y.A.M, Schrag, A, Mazibrada, G, Borm, G.F, & Bloem, B.R. (2013). Impact of falls and fear of falling on health-related quality of life in patients with Parkinson's disease. Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 3(3), 409–413. doi:10.3233/JPD-120113