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Falls among community-residing stroke survivors following inpatient rehabilitation: a descriptive analysis of longitudinal data

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-9-46

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Participants (n = 231) were recruited at the end of their rehab stay and interviewed monthly via telephone for 1 to 32 months regarding fall incidents. Analyses were conducted on: total reports of falls by month over time for first-time and repeat fallers, the incidence of falling in any given month; and factors differing between fallers and non fallers.The largest percentage of participants (14%) reported falling in the first month post-discharge. After month five, less than 10% of the sample reported falling, bar months 15 (10.4%) and 23 (13.2%). From months one to nine, the percentage of those reporting one fall with and without a prior fall were similar. After month nine, the number of individuals who reported a single fall with a fall history was twice as high compared to those without a prior fall who reported falling. In both cases the percentages were small. A very small subset of the population emerged who fell multiple times each month, most of whom had a prior fall history. At least a third of the sample reported a loss of balance each month. Few factors differed significantly between fallers and non-fallers in months one to six.Longitudinal data suggest that falls most likely linked to first time strokes occur in the first six months post discharge, particularly month one. Data routinely available at discharge does not distinguish fallers from non-fallers. Once a fall incident has occurred however, preventive intervention is warranted.Stroke survivors are at high risk for developing a wide range of complications [1]. Common secondary conditions following a stroke include pain, depression, muscle spasms, incontinence, fatigue, second stroke, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, immobility, and falls [1-6]. These conditions can develop during the acute or post-acute stroke recovery period.Falls are the most frequently reported accident among older adults [7] and some data indicate that stroke victims are especially at high risk for falls [8,9]. Resul

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