Characteristics of outdoor falls among older people : a qualitative study

Nyman, SR, Ballinger, C, Phillips, JE and Newton, RA 2013, 'Characteristics of outdoor falls among older people : a qualitative study' , BMC Geriatrics, 13 (1) , p. 125.

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Background Falls are a major threat to older people’s health and wellbeing. Approximately half of falls occur in outdoor environments but little is known about the circumstances in which they occur. We conducted a qualitative study to explore older people’s experiences of outdoor falls to develop understanding of how they may be prevented. Methods We conducted nine focus groups across the UK (England, Wales, and Scotland). Our sample was from urban and rural settings and different environmental landscapes. Participants were aged 65+ and had at least one outdoor fall in the past year. We analysed the data using framework and content analyses. Results Forty-four adults aged 65 – 92 took part and reported their experience of 88 outdoor falls. Outdoor falls occurred in a variety of contexts, though reports suggested the following scenarios may have been more frequent: when crossing a road, in a familiar area, when bystanders were around, and with an unreported or unknown attribution. Most frequently, falls resulted in either minor or moderate injury, feeling embarrassed at the time of the fall, and anxiety about falling again. Ten falls resulted in fracture, but no strong pattern emerged in regard to the contexts of these falls. Anxiety about falling again appeared more prevalent among those that fell in urban settings and who made more visits into their neighbourhood in a typical week. Conclusions This exploratory study has highlighted several aspects of the outdoor environment that may represent risk factors for outdoor falls and associated fear of falling. Health professionals are recommended to consider outdoor environments as well as the home setting when working to prevent falls and increase mobility among older people.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Geriatrics
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1471-2318
Related URLs:
Funders: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Depositing User: RA Newton
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 11:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 17:25

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