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Authors

  1. Gustavson, Allison M. DPT, PhD

Abstract

Background and Purpose: The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) delivers community-based long-term care services to low-income, nursing home eligible adults. In the PACE population, one of the most common reasons for hospitalizations is falls. The purpose of this quality improvement study was to create a stakeholder-driven process for developing a fall risk screen and evaluate how well this process discriminated injurious and noninjurious fallers.

 

Methods: The quality improvement design was a prospective, longitudinal data collection for 5 PACE programs in Colorado. Physical therapists collected the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) on participants at least annually. The Kotter practice change framework guided the processes for practice and organizational change in developing and implementing a fall screen.

 

Results and Discussion: An iterative, stakeholder, and data-driven process allowed our team of researchers and a PACE program to establish a fall risk screen to stratify PACE participants. We provided feedback to PACE staff regarding screening rates and results on discrimination of faller status to promote continued uptake of screening and discussion regarding next steps. Rehabilitation therapists screened 66% of the PACE population, and participants were stratified into high risk (1-7 points) or low risk (8-12 points) based on the SPPB. Participants with low SPPB scores had 79% greater risk of a fall (risk ratio [RR] = 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-2.1) and 86% greater risk of an injurious fall (RR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4-2.4), compared with those with high SPPB scores.

 

Conclusions: Our study describes a collaboration to address fall rates in a PACE population. Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly clinicians can use the identified cut-offs to stratify PACE populations at risk for falls and allocate scarce rehabilitation resources efficiently to best serve participants at highest risk, while using less resource-intensive interventions for those at lower risk.