Objective: The aim of this study was to describe general characteristics of patients with stroke who have a tendency to fall and to determine whether certain test instruments can identify fallers.
Methods: Patients treated in a stroke unit during a 12-month period were included. At inclusion assessments were made with Berg Balance Scale Berg Balance Scale, Stops Walking When Talking, Timed Up & Go (TUG) and diffTUG. At follow-up 6 or 12 months later, patients who had fallen were identified.
Results: During the time from discharge to follow-up on 159 patients, 68 patients fell and 91 did not. Fallers fell more often during their initial hospital stay, used sedatives more often and were more visually impaired, compared with non-fallers. The Berg Balance Scale, Stops Walking When Talking and TUG results differed between fallers and non-fallers. The combined results of Berg Balance Scale and Stops Walking When Talking increased the possibility of identifying fallers.
Conclusion: Berg Balance Scale, Stops Walking When Talking and TUG can be used to evaluate which patients have a tendency to fall in order to carry out preventive measures. Berg Balance Scale can be used in all patients. Stops Walking When Talking can give additional information if the patient is able to walk. TUG is a possible choice, but fewer patients can perform it.