Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools

​Although screening tools exist for the identification of risk factors for older adult falls, these tools have never been tested to determine how well they predict future falls. Given this, the overall purpose of the Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools project is to identify a set of questions that will predict falls themselves, rather than identifying the risk factors for falls, in community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older. To accomplish this goal, the study will:

  1. Test the ability of existing falls screening tools to predict falls and falls requiring medical attention over the course of one year;
  2. Assess how well questions predict falls for specific groups (e.g., gender, race, and disability status); and
  3. Assess how responses to questions change over time. This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

​The Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools project is a longitudinal survey that is following over 1,900 older adults over the course of approximately 15 months. Each participant completed a baseline survey that included questions from several screening tools. After completing the baseline, he or she will receive a monthly survey that asks about falls and associated medical treatment in the previous month.

​The screening tools being evaluated in this study include the CDC Stay Independent Checklist, the American Geriatric Society (AGS) Fall Prevention Guidelines and Recommended Questions, and Falls Risk for Older People - Community Setting (FROP-Com). Data are collected using the AmeriSpeak panel, which is a probability-based, representative sample of the U.S. population. Panelists can participate via either internet or phone interviews.

This project is the first AmeriSpeak survey to receive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance to conduct data collection on behalf of the federal government. The AmeriSpeak panelists participating in this study were selected at random from the NORC National Frame which covers over 97% of American households.

Data collection will be completed in June 2019. At that time, we will use our findings to evaluate current screening tools and potentially design a new tool for healthcare providers that can predict falls in community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older.