Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
FABRICIO, Suzele Cristina Coelho; RODRIGUES, Rosalina A Partezani and COSTA JUNIOR, Moacyr Lobo da. Falls among older adults seen at a São Paulo State public hospital: causes and consequences. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.1, pp.93-99. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102004000100013.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the history of accidental falls reported by older adults, identifying possibly related factors, as well as place of occurrence, causes, and consequences. METHODS: The sample investigated included 50 older adults, of both sexes, ages 60 years or older, living in the city of Ribeirão Preto, Southeastern Brazil, who had been seen at two inpatient units of a public hospital. Patient records were examined and household visits carried out for the application of a structured questionnaire including open, closed, and mixed questions related to the fall. RESULTS: Data obtained show a reality not substantially different from that observed in other countries. Most events occurred among older women (66%), with mean age 76 years, and at home. Causes were mainly related to physical environment (54%), and brought serious consequences to the subjects, fractures being the most common outcome (64%). Falls had a great impact on subjects' lives in terms of activities such as: lying down/getting up, walking on plain surfaces, cutting toenails, bathing/showering, walking outside home, taking care of financial issues, shopping, using public transportation, and climbing stairs. CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrated that falls occurred among older adults have serious physical, psychological, and social consequences, reinforcing the need for fall prevention, in order to ensure greater quality of life, autonomy, and independence for the elderly.
Keywords : Aged; Accidental falls; Cost of illness; Quality of life; Aging health.