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The Influence of Medications on Falls in Community Dwelling Elderly
Midwest Nursing Reserch Society (2010)
  • Sandra Spoelstra, Grand Valley State University
Problem Statement Medication use can place older adults at risk for falls and increased health care utilization. A need exists to better understand medication use in the community dwelling elderly and how it may contribute to falls and utilization of health care services. This study compares and contrasts those elderly with a significant amount of medications to those without a significant amount of medications to determine if certain types, as well as the number of medications impacts falls. The hypothesis is that there is a relationship between patients with more medications or between certain of these drug classes and falls.
Conceptual Model An aging and nursing model of care was synthesized.
Description of Sample This is a retrospective, cross-sectional secondary analysis of the Minimum Data Set for Home Care used in a Home and Community Based program in 2002 to 2007, examining elderly age 65 and in the State of Michigan.
Design, Methodology, & Analysis A multivariate regression model with Maximum Likelihood Estimates with a Wald Chi-square are used to examine interactions among the variables in order to construct the final model for this study.
Results & Conclusions The sample of 10,260 consisted of 74.7% female, 74.2% Caucasian and 24.3% African American. Findings indicate 69.2% of the patients take 9 or more medications, 36.0% anti-depressants, 21.4% anti-anxiety, 8.7% hypnotics, and 7.2% anti-psychotics; medications that are known to increase falls in the elderly. The overall fall rate was 27.3%. Preliminary analyses suggest that as the number of medications increases, falls increase; patients on more than one psychotropic medication fall more; and patients with some limitations in ADL and who are prescribed anti-depressant medications fall more.   
Implications for Nursing Practice Nurses need to understanding if multiple medications or certain typeofmedications may lead to increased falls. These findings can be used to allocate valuable nursing time towards those patients who “need” more intense medication management ultimately reducing falls and improving quality of life of elderly community dwelling individuals.
Publication Date
Spring 2010
Citation Information
Sandra Spoelstra. "The Influence of Medications on Falls in Community Dwelling Elderly" Midwest Nursing Reserch Society (2010)
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