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KD Lim, KC Ng, SK Ng, LL Ng
Correspondence: Dr K D Lim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Falls are common among the elderly patients in the psycho-geriatric wards and yet they have been understudied. A fall is a multi-factorial syndrome involving the patient and the environment. Psycho-geriatric patients who fall may suffer serious physical injuries that result in morbidity, further institutionalisation or even mortality. This study aims to examine the contributing factors to, and morbidity and outcome of falls among institutionalised psycho-geriatric patients so that preventive strategies can be refined. Data of patients who fell over a year's period in four psycho-geriatric wards were collected retrospectively and compared with those who had not fallen within the same period. The general profile of the psycho-geriatric patient who falls is one who is: above seventy-five years old; on three or more medications; and having recent changes in medication and mental status. About one in three fallers fell repeatedly. The rate of serious injury and mortality was low. In conclusion, while many factors are attributable to the common effects of aging and physical illnesses; psychotropic medication, change in mental state and specific environmental factors also play significant contributory roles to falls in this group of patients.
Keywords: falls, factors, outcome, psycho-geriatric wards, prevention
Singapore Med J 2001; 42(10): 466-472