Development of a fall-risk assessment profile for community-dwelling older adults by using the National Health Interview Survey in Taiwan

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BACKGROUND: Falls represent a global health issue among older adults and cause a considerable burden on medical systems. In this study, a fall-risk assessment profile was developed for community-dwelling older adults. METHOD: The data of survey participants aged > 65 years were obtained from three rounds (2005, 2009, and 2013) of the National Health Interview Survey in Taiwan. In total, 8356 older participants were included in this study. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine potential predictors associated with falls. The regression coefficients of the predictors in the final model were translated into scores (by multiplying by 5) and then summed to obtain a total risk-score for falls. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to evaluate the discriminative performance of the risk assessment profile. RESULT: Self-reported falls within 1 year accounted for 19.1% of the total falls. The predictors that were included in the risk profile according to the logistic regression analysis results were as follows: female sex (adjusted odds ratio = 1.57; risk-score = 2), living alone (adjusted odds ratio = 1.56; risk-score = 2), urinary incontinence (adjusted odds ratio = 1.36; risk-score = 2), perceived unhealthiness (adjusted odds ratio = 1.32; risk-score = 1), perceived pain (adjusted odds ratio = 1.51; risk-score = 2), hospital admission in the past year (adjusted odds ratio = 2.42; risk-score = 4), low activity of daily living (ADL) scores (adjusted odds ratio = 1.29; risk-score = 1), and low mobility function scores (adjusted odds ratio = 1.68; risk-score = 3). At a total risk-score cutoff point of 6 (range 0-17), the model predicted falls with a sensitivity and specificity of 75.16 and 52.75%, respectively (area under the ROC curve = 0.70). CONCLUSION: The fall-risk assessment profile comprising eight predictors-female sex, living alone, incontinence, perceived unhealthiness, perceived pain, hospital admission in the past year, low ADL scores, and low mobility function scores-may serve as an assessment tool for identification of older adults with a high risk of falling, and assessment results can be used to facilitate community-based intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number234
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 14 2020


  • Fall
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • Older
  • Risk assessment profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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