Frailty Increases Risk for Falls in Older Adults

Frail older adults have an increased risk of recurrent falls compared with robust older adults, according to a recent meta-analysis.

In their analysis, the researchers assessed 102,130 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older, and 33,503 older adults who had experienced a fall. Two researchers extracted data from existing literature from January 2001 to December 2006. Eligible studies were found via searches of the Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PubMed, and MEDLINE databases.

Falls, Fractures Influenced By High-Dose Vitamin D?
Guidelines Recommend Against Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound for Bone Fractures

Results of the meta-analysis indicated that frail older adults had the greatest risk of falls, compared with robust older adults. Pre-frail adults also had a greater risk of falls, although to a lesser extent.

Ultimately, the researchers found that studies of cardiovascular health or osteoporotic fracture indicators could effectively predict the risk of falls in older adults. Using different frailty indicators to predict incidence of falls among older adults produced nonsignificantly different outcomes.

“Frailty is a crucial healthcare topic of people with geriatric syndromes,” the researchers concluded. “Frail older adults are likely to experience recurrent falls. In addition, the evidence-based study indicated that once older people enter the pre-frail stage, they are likely to experience falls. Therefore, older adults should be evaluated for the possibility of geriatric syndromes such as frailty, which may be addressed to reduce the risk for bone fractures and death.”

—Christina Vogt


Cheng MH, Chang SF. Frailty as a risk factor for falls among community dwelling people: evidence from a meta-analysis [Published online July 29, 2017]. J Nurs Scholarship. doi:10.1111/jnu.12322.