Risk Factors for Falls in Home Care and Long-Term Care Settings: A Focus on Dementia and Parkinson's Disease
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It is well established that there are many intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors associated with falls in older adults. Less well-known is what risk factors predict falls in more vulnerable populations, such as those with neurological conditions living in long-term care homes or receiving home care services. Furthermore, evidence comparing those with neurological conditions to those without is lacking in the literature. The primary purpose of this thesis was to determine risk factors for falls in long-term care residents and home care clients with no recent history of falls to determine if risk factors differed between individuals with dementia or Parkinson’s disease and those without any neurological conditions. Secondary data analysis was performed on a database of standardized health assessments completed for long-stay home care clients and long-term care residents in Ontario. Within each major diagnostic group, observations were stratified based on ambulatory status (ambulatory vs. non-ambulatory). Bivariate analyses followed by generalized estimating equations were used to determine statistically significant predictors of falls in each group within each care setting. The results of multivariable analyses showed that there is not a distinct set of risk factors associated with falls in home care clients and long-term care residents with dementia or Parkinson’s disease that is systematically different from risk factors associated with falls in clients and residents not diagnosed with any of the neurological conditions in this study. These results suggest that a common set of risk factors may effectively predict falls in all clients and residents with no recent falls history, regardless of certain neurological diagnoses.