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Prediction of Falls in Older Adults With Cancer: A Preliminary Study

Janine Overcash
ONF 2007, 34(2), 341-346 DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.341-346

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the extent to which falls occur in older adult patients with cancer; to identify how falls relate to depression, age, functional status, and cognition; and to develop a model for predicting falls.

Design: Descriptive, prospective, quantitative.

Setting: Patients in the Senior Adult Oncology Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute.

Sample: 165 patients aged 70 years or older with any diagnosis of cancer, treatment type, and stage.

Methods: Data were collected during a one-time interview using a comprehensive geriatric assessment consisting of the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) Scale, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Mini-Mental State Examination, and a fall assessment.

Main Research Variables: Falls, functional status, depression, cognition, age, and gender.

Findings: IADL scores were found to be a predictor of falls while controlling for age and ADL status. An IADL score of 22 predicts a 21% risk of a fall. Fall risk increases to 81% at an IADL score of 9.

Conclusions: IADL score is a predictor of falls in this older adult population with cancer. ADL scores are not a predictor of falls when IADL is included in the model.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses must play a vital role in conducting fall screening and risk assessments for older adults with cancer.


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