Medicine and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: Falls place older adults at risk for injuries, resulting in functional decline, hospitalization, institutionalization, higher healthcare costs, and decreased quality of life.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined community-dwelling elderly to identify if individuals with a history of cancer fall at a higher rate than those without cancer, and if the occurrence of falls was influenced by individual characteristics, symptoms, or function.

METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study, in 2007, examining 7,448 community-dwelling elderly 65 years or older in a state in the Midwest. Fallers were identified based on a diagnosis of cancer, age, sex, race and ethnicity, poor vision, reduced activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, cognition, incontinence, pain, or depression.

RESULTS: Findings indicated that 2,125 (28.5%) had at least 1 fall. Of those who fell, 967 (13.0%) had cancer, and 363 (4.9%) with cancer had a fall.

CONCLUSION: Predictors of falls in this population included race, sex, ADLs, incontinence, depression, and pain, all with P <.05. Cancer was not a predictor of falls in this study.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study found a high frequency of falls and suggests a predictive model for fall risk in the vulnerable, community-dwelling elderly and will be used to inform future studies.


Original Citation:

Spoelstra, S., Given, B., von Eye, A., & Given, C. (2010). Falls in the Community-Dwelling Elderly With a History of Cancer: Cancer Nursing, 33(2), 149–155. http://doi.org/10.1097/NCC.0b013e3181bbbe8a