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Fall risks are very high for the geriatric population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), one out of every three adults aged 65 years and older falls each year. This can be attributed to factors such as changes in aging, other health issues, environment, and effects of prescribed drugs. When caring for geriatric patients, it is important to screen them for risks and perform fall-risk assessments. These assessment tools help to determine the level of risk for patients so that preventive measures can be taken. The implications of falls are very serious and range from fractures to mental health disorders and even death. In this Discussion, you explore risk assessment tools for use with patients at your practicum site.

To prepare:

  • Consider a geriatric patient at your practicum site who is at risk for falls. Coordinate an opportunity to assess this patient with your Preceptor.
  • Note: When referring to your patient, make sure to use a pseudonym or other false form of identification. This is to ensure the privacy and protection of the patient.

  • In addition to the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX), select one of the following tools to assess this patient for falls:
    • Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA)
    • Systems Approach
    • Berg Balance Scale
    • Elderly Mobility Scale
    • Timed Unsupported Stead Stand (TUSS)
    • Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)
    • Hendrich II Fall Risk Model
  • Consider why you selected the assessment tool for this particular patient.
  • Assess the patient using the tool you selected under Preceptor guidance. Reflect on the assessment, including any issues with the patient and/or the effectiveness of the tool.
  • Think about strategies and interventions to reduce the risk of falls for frail elders.
 
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