A systematic review of accidental injury from fire, wandering and medication self-administration errors for older adults with and without dementia

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2011 Jan-Feb;52(1):e1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2010.02.014. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


The assessment of risk of injury in the home is important for older adults when considering whether they are able to live independently. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine the frequency of injury for persons with dementia and the general older adult population, from three sources: fires/burns, medication self-administration errors and wandering. Relevant articles (n=74) were screened and 16 studies were retained for independent review. The studies, although subject to selection and information bias, showed low proportions of morbidity and mortality from the three sources of injury. Data did not allow direct comparison of morbidity and mortality for persons with dementia and the general older adult population; however, data trends suggested greater event frequencies with medication self-administration and wandering for persons with dementia. Assessment targeting these sources of injury should have less emphasis in the general older adult population compared to persons with dementia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / psychology
  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Home / psychology
  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Burns / psychology
  • Dementia / mortality
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Fires / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wandering Behavior / psychology
  • Wandering Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality