A study released in the Journal of Gerontology Medical Science looks at a recently developed assessment model to predict the risk of falls, leading to hip fractures, in long-term care patients.

The model, titled “Fracture Risk Assessment in Long-term Care (FRAiL),” was developed by researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research after following a large cohort of nursing home residents over a 2-year period to identify the risks that most often led to hip fractures among the residents.

The study reveals what are suggested to be the significant predictors of hip fracture in nursing home residents. They are: older age, white race, female, impaired cognition, independence in the activities of daily living, locomotion independence, urinary continence, previous falls, transfer independence, easily distractible, proclivity towards wandering, and others, according to a media release from Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research.

For both men and women in nursing homes, it seems that the more independently mobile one is, the more apt they are to fall and incur a hip fracture. This is in direct opposition to seniors who live outside of the nursing home, who are more apt to fall and incur a fracture if they are less independent in their daily living skills.

Nearly 10% of hip fractures occur among nursing home residents. Among those nursing home residents who incur fractures, 36% will die within 6 months, and another 17.3% will become completely disabled. If service providers can screen for falls risk early on, they may be able to prevent debilitating and life-threatening hip fractures before they occur, the release explains.

“The FRAiL model is the first clinical tool that could be used to discriminate residents at high risk for fracture and standardize fracture prevention efforts in the nursing home,” states Sarah D. Berry, MD, MPH, the study’s lead author, in the release.

[Source(s): Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research, EurekAlert]