Catherine is a graduate student at the University of Toronto studying Translational Research. She is a passionate and enthusiastic student working on bridging the gaps between scientific research and healthcare environments. Her current research interests lie in the aging population- specifically in ways to prevent falls through medical initiatives and interdisciplinary communication. Catherine is currently working part-time as a Clinical Research Assistant at The Hospital for Sick Children in Adolescent Medicine. There, she is helping to develop content for an App created for children with brain-based developmental disabilities. She loves working with kids and hopes to continue doing so after she graduates
A Multifactorial Burden: Examining Fall Risk Assessment in Geriatric Populations in a Rehabilitation Hospital Setting
Haley Roher is a also a graduate student at the University of Toronto studying Translational Research and is passionate and enthusiastic about bridging the gaps between scientific research and healthcare environments. Her current research interests lie in the aging population- specifically in ways to prevent falls through medical initiatives and interdisciplinary communication. Haley graduated from Queen’s University with a BScH majoring in Biology and Psychology and would like to continue to pursue work in these fields when she finishes her Masters. When Haley is not at school she enjoys practicing yoga and creating intricate pieces of art.
Falls are a major health concern for seniors as they are the leading cause of injury for and commonly result in hospitalization, disability and death. Most falls occur as a result of multiple compounding factors such as: advanced age, balance/gait deficit, muscle weakness, acute or chronic illness, and polypharmacy. In hospitals, falls are one of the most common adverse events, which has lead to a widespread focus on developing and implementing fall prevention strategies and fall risk assessments.
Although a large body of literature exists describing fall risk assessments, there is little consensus on which assessment tools should be used, their effectiveness, and who should be administering assessments. Using quality improvement and qualitative research methodologies, our project examined how fall risk in a geriatric (65+) population is assessed at a rehabilitation hospital in Ontario.
Interviews were conducted to elicit information on healthcare practitioners’ (i.e., OT/PT, registered nurses and pharmacists) experiences with the current fall screen tool. Additionally, a one-month prospective and two-month retrospective chart review was completed to examine the relationship between patients deemed a fall risk and fall incidence.
Findings from this review highlight the subjectivity built into falls assessments, the importance of interdisciplinary assessment and utilization of a unified tool to determine risk of fall for institutionalized geriatric patients.