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Fear of falling: an emerging issue after stroke.

Schmid AA, Rittman M. Fear of falling: an emerging issue after stroke. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation. 2007 Sep 1; 14(5):46-55.

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PURPOSE: Qualitative data regarding stroke survivors' recovery experiences were used to describe factors important in the development of fear of falling (FoF) during the first 6 months after stroke. METHOD: Stroke survivors were interviewed 1 and 6 months after stroke to obtain data on their experiences related to stroke recovery trajectory. Analyses identified FoF as a naturally occurring part of stroke survivors' descriptions of their everyday lives. Interviews were reexamined to identify and describe personal experiences related to FoF in this population. RESULTS: Forty-two (32%) veterans who participated in the larger study discussed FoF during the first 6 months after stroke. Analyses indicate three important factors may be associated with the development of poststroke FoF: (a) the initial fall coinciding with stroke onset, (b) perception of poststroke body changes, and (c) a pervasive everyday fear of future falls. CONCLUSION: These factors related to FoF need to be further studied in the poststroke population. It is possible that individualized interventions may be necessary to assist stroke survivors to manage FoF, decrease fear, and reduce falls after discharge home poststroke.

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