American Geriatrics Society response to the World Falls Guidelines

Elizabeth Eckstrom, Jennifer L. Vincenzo, Colleen M. Casey, Shelly Gray, Kristina Cosley, Jamie Caulley, Manisha Parulekar, Anita Rasheed, Martine Sanon, George Demiris, Robbie Zimbroff, Bryanna De Lima, Elizabeth Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Falls are a major cause of preventable death, injury, and reduced independence in adults aged 65 years and older. The American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society (AGS/BGS) published a guideline in 2001, revised in 2011, addressing common risk factors for falls and providing recommendations to reduce fall risk in community-dwelling older adults. In 2022, the World Falls Guidelines (WFG) Task Force created updated, globally oriented fall prevention risk stratification, assessment, management, and interventions for older adults. Our objective was to briefly summarize the new WFG, compare them to the AGS/BGS guideline, and offer suggestions for implementation in the United States. We reviewed 11 of the 12 WFG topics related to community-dwelling older adults and agree with several additions to the prior AGS/BGS guideline, including assessment and intervention for hearing impairment and concern for falling, assessment and individualized exercises for older adults with cognitive impairment, and performing a standardized assessment such as STOPPFall before prescribing a medication that could potentially increase fall risk. Notable areas of difference include: (1) AGS continues to recommend screening all patients aged 65+ annually for falls, rather than just those with a history of falls or through opportunistic case finding; (2) AGS recommends continued use of the Timed Up and Go as a gait assessment, rather than relying on gait speed; and (3) AGS recommends clinical judgment on whether or not to check an ECG for those at risk for falling. Our review and translation of the WFG for a US audience offers guidance for healthcare and other providers and teams to reduce fall risk in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • exercise
  • fall prevention
  • guidelines
  • multifactorial assessment
  • screening

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