Dr Afsoon Hassani Mehraban: A functional model of fall risk.

This project explored and applied the newly developed International Classification of Functioning (ICF) developed by the World Health Organisation to data collected as part of a sub-study of the ALSWH. At Survey 4, 20% of the sub-sample reported that they had experienced a fall in the previous six months and more than half the respondents stated they were afraid that they may fall and hurt themselves in the next year. In logistic regression
models, falls were predicted by a large number of factors that had been measured in previous ALSWH surveys.

Using a step-wise approach, the ICF framework was applied to identify those factors that were predictive of falls in multivariable models. This approach revealed that some factors from all domains of the ICF framework were associated with falls (including general health, body function, personal factors, activity and participation and environmental factors).
This analysis is the first to assess and demonstrate the appropriateness of the ICF as a model for understanding falls risk. The project has also collected a large amount of information on environmental hazards associated with falls risk in and around the homes of older women. Common hazards include unsecured mats, shiny floors, inaccessible baths and showers, high cupboards, steps without rails, and unsuitable chairs and bed heights.

Analysis has been completed and papers are in preparation. Presentations from this project were made at the OT AUSTRALIA 23rd National Conference & Exhibition in Melbourne, 2008.