Characterising falls risk factors and health care utilisation in patients with a low trauma wrist fracture attending a physiotherapy clinic
Introduction: Ireland's population is ageing and falls continue to be the most common cause of injury for those aged over 65. International guidelines recommend screening of low-risk falls patients in order to prevent significant impairments in the future. Mallmin et al (1993) stated that distal radius fractures occur on average 15 years prior to a hip fracture.
Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to characterise multifactorial falls risk factors in subjects who had sustained a low trauma wrist fracture and identify their health care utilisation.
Methods: This was a case-control, observational study which involved recruitment of 41 consecutive adults between 55 and 80 years who sustained a low trauma wrist fracture. For comparison 41 healthy controls were also recruited. A comprehensive multi-factorial falls assessment was performed on both groups.
Results: The mean age of the female cases (n=36) was 68.19± 6.71 and the male cases (n=5) was 61.0± 6.75. There were statistically significant differences in the TUG test (p
Conclusions and Implications: This study identified the presence of both intrinsic and extrinsic falls risk factors in subjects who sustained a low-trauma wrist fracture. Furthermore, 92% of the subjects required an intervention which they would not routinely have received, highlighting the increased health care needs of this cohort. The findings of this study could form the basis of the development of a targeted falls prevention screening tool and intervention programme for patients over 55 years of age patients who sustain a fragility fracture.