Associations between health-related quality of life, physical function and fear of falling in older fallers receiving home care

Maria Bjerk, Therese Brovold, Dawn A. Skelton, Astrid Bergland

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Abstract

Background: Falls and injuries in older adults have significant consequences and costs, both personal and to society. Although having a high incidence of falls, high prevalence of fear of falling and a lower quality of life, older adults receiving home care are underrepresented in research on older fallers. The objective of this study is to determine the associations between health-related quality of life (HRQOL), fear of falling and physical function in older fallers receiving home care. Methods: This study employed cross-sectional data from baseline measurements of a randomised controlled trial. 155 participants, aged 67+, with at least one fall in the previous year, from six Norwegian municipalities were included. Data on HRQOL (SF-36), physical function and fear of falling (FES-I) were collected in addition to demographical and other relevant background information. A multivariate regression model was applied. Results: A higher score on FES-I, denoting increased fear of falling, was significantly associated with a lower score on almost all subscales of SF-36, denoting reduced HRQOL. Higher age was significantly associated with higher scores on physical function, general health, mental health and the mental component summary. This analysis adjusted for sex, education, living alone, being at risk of or malnourished, physical function like balance and walking speed, cognition and number of falls. Conclusion: Fear of falling is important for HRQOL in older fallers receiving home care. This association is independent of physical measures. Better physical function is significantly associated with higher physical HRQOL. Future research should address interventions that reduce fear of falling and increase HRQOL in this vulnerable population. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT02374307. First registration, 16 February 2015. First enrolment of participants, February 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Article number253
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • older adults
  • quality of life
  • fear of falling
  • physical function
  • care provision
  • home health care

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