Fall events among people with stroke living in the community: circumstances of falls and characteristics of fallers

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Feb;83(2):165-70. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2002.28030.


Objectives: To describe the frequency and circumstances of falls among a community sample of people with stroke and to compare characteristics of fallers and nonfallers.

Design: Cross-sectional, observational study.

Setting: Community.

Participants: Forty-one community-dwelling people with stroke (26 men, 15 women; mean age, 69.7 +/- 11.6y), of which 23 had right-hemisphere infarction, 16 left-hemisphere infarction, and 2 had a brainstem lesion. Time since onset of stroke ranged from 3 to 288 months (mean, 50mo).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Standardized tests were used to measure mobility, upper limb function, activities of daily living (ADL ability), and mood. Information about fall events was collected by using a questionnaire.

Results: Twenty-one participants (50%) were classed as fallers, of whom 10 had fallen repeatedly. No significant differences were found between fallers and nonfallers on any of the measures used. However, those who had 2 or more falls (n = 10) had significantly reduced arm function (P = .018) and ADL ability (P = .010), compared with those who had not fallen or experienced near falls (n = 5). Loss of balance, misjudgment, and foot dragging during walking, turning, and sit to stand were reported by fallers as the suspected causes and activities leading to falls.

Conclusions: The high risk of falling among people with stroke was evident in this community-based sample. Repeat fallers had greater mobility deficits and significantly reduced arm function and ADL ability than those who did not report any instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • United Kingdom