Fall Risk Assessment in Older People
Almost one-third of older people experience falls caused by medical factors and/or frailty. Falls may lead to devastating results. The rapid increase in life expectancy has made fall-detection and analysis an important issue. In order to identify trends and the state of the art in fall risk and balance assessment in older people, this paper carries out a review of the literature in this field. The focus has been on works that studied various assessment tools developed for fall risk assessment in people above 65 years old. The reviewed papers are categorized into two large groups of Clinical Fall Risk Assessment Methods and Quantitative Fall Risk Analysis Methods. For the studies in the first group, in addition to the contribution and limitations of each cited work, the validity and reliability factors are highlighted. The majority of the works reported in the second group are still in the development stage and have not been applied in real clinical applications. Hence, issues such as sensitivity and specificity are not considered. The review reveals that despite the high number of studies, there is no consistent worldwide standard for fall risk and balance disorder analysis and assessment. Many of the methods proposed have not been validated for large groups of subjects and the results are generalized without reliable evidence. High cost, complexity, and length of the procedure are the major drawbacks of many of the proposed methods. The frailty of older people can make routine gait analysis challenging. The results of the analysis of the current literature reveal a lack of any comprehensive, objective and accurate method.
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