Fall prevention initiative: A fall screening and intervention pilot study on the ambulatory setting

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery








Elderly falls; fall prevention; geriatric trauma


BACKGROUND Falling is the most common cause of trauma in the geriatric population. To identify patients that were at-risk for falling, we implemented a provider-directed fall prevention screening initiative in the ambulatory setting of a large tertiary care referral center. We used three clinician-directed questions from the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death and Injuries toolkit. Our goal was to intervene on patients who were screened as at-risk for falling by referring them to our physical therapy program and evaluating its effects to these patients. METHODS Patients 55 years or older who live in the community were screened from June 2017 to June 2018. Patients who answered yes to any of the three questions were identified as at-risk for falling, and referred to the Fall Prevention Initiative Physical Therapy Program (FPIPTP). The FPIPTP is a program that establishes a quantifiable fall risk using the Time Up and Go (TUG) test, which then initiates PT treatments, designed to prevent future falls by improving, gait, balance, and fitness. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to determine significance (p < 0.05). RESULTS We identified 112 patients with a median age of 76.5 years (IQR, 68-82 years) to be at-risk for falling. The initial median TUG score in this group of patients is 15.85 seconds (12-20.33 seconds), which is consistent with a high fall-risk (time >12 seconds). After completing the FPIPTP, the median TUG score significantly improved to 12 seconds (9-15 seconds, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION We conclude that a provider can use the three specific questions from the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death and Injuries toolkit to identify patients (≥55 years) that are at-risk for falling. Additionally, the FPIPTP is able to significantly improve the TUG score in this group. We will need to confirm this conclusion with a larger population study. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic, Level IV.