Background: Falls in older people are a major public health concern. To target falls prevention interventions, screening tools need to be able to identify older people at greater risk of falling. This study aimed to investigate the screening capacity of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool for health professionals (HOME FAST-HP), and to identify the best cut-off score to identify older people at higher risk of falls using the HOME FAST-HP.
Methods: The study used cross-sectional data from a random sample of 650 women from the 1921 to 1926 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health (ALSWH). Selected women were sent a postal survey including the HOME FAST-HP, falls history, and other health factors. Scores on the home fast were calculated and the cut-point for optimal sensitivity and specificity of the HOME FAST-HP in relation to falls was assessed using a Receiver Operating Characteristic curve.
Results: A total of 567 older women participated (response rate 87%). The mean age of participants was 77.5 yrs (95% CI 77.31-77.70). A total of 153 participants (27%) reported a fall in the previous six months. The mean number of hazards using the HOME FAST-HP was 9.74 (95% CI 9.48-10.01), range 2-22. Non-fallers had a mean of 9.6 hazards (95% CI 9.32-9.91) and fallers had a mean of 10.63 hazards (95% CI 10.08-11.19) which was a significant difference (t = 3.41, P = 0.001). The area under the receiver operator curve (AUC) was 0.58 (95% CI 0.53-0.64). A HOME FAST-HP cut-off score of 9 was associated with the optimal sensitivity for falls (73.9%), with specificity (37.9%), and positive predictive value was 30.6% and negative predictive value was 79.7%.
Conclusion: The HOME FAST-HP can be used as a screening tool to identify fallers with a cut-off score of nine indicating a higher risk of falling.
Keywords: accidental falls; aged; environment; home hazards; sensitivity and specificity.
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