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Health Services Research & Development

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2005 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

3043 — Pilot Study: Clinical Effectiveness of a Fall Detection System Among Community-Based Elderly Veterans

Author List:
Quigley PA (VISN 8 Patient Safety Center)
Bulat T (VISN 8 Patient Safety Center)
Ahmed S (VISN 8 Patient Safety Center)
Palacios P (VISN 8 Pateint Safety Center)
Leland J (James A. Haley VAMC)
Lee M (VISN 8 Patient Safety Center)

(Q1) Is the iLife Solutions fall detection system timely and accurate in reporting fall occurrence in community-based elderly veterans over 75 years of age? (Q2) What are the rates of fall-related injuries by severity? (Q3) What are the rates of patient/family acceptance with the use of iLife Solutions fall detectors? (Q4) Do fall detectors decrease elderly patients’ fear of falling?

A descriptive, correlational design was used to test the research questions. Rate and frequency of falls and near falls, and rate, frequency and severity of fall-related injuries, served as dependent variables. The population included elderly veterans over the age of 75, at risk for falls as determined by Morse Fall Assessment Score of 50 or greater, and who lived at home independently for at least 8 hours / day within a 60 mile radius of the Tampa VA.

Descriptive statistics described the characteristics of this population and fall rate and severity of fall related injury. Accuracy of the fall detection system was measured by computing the timeliness of fall emergency response (i.e. the time between the alert signal and the emergency response), the sensitivity (probability of detecting a fall when there is a fall), and specificity. Probability of getting false negative/false positive results was also computed. Correlation between wearing Home Fall Detection Monitor (HFDM) and fall self-efficacy were determined and paired t test was done to find any significant differences in pre and post intervention. Patient and family acceptance were measured using descriptive statistics to analyze surveyed responses to ease of use, wear and sense of security of the fall detection device.

The results indicated that there was a significant improvement in fall efficacy due to the fall detector intervention. The composite MFES scores showed significance in a paired T-test. Fear of falling was also decreased for certain specific tasks. These tasks were dressing, bathing, chair transfers, bed transfers, walking inside of the home, and reaching into cabinets or closets.

Integration of innovative technology within the home setting for vulnerable, frail elderly can significantly impact their continued confidence and independence.

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