+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Urban Australian general practitioners' perceptions of falls risk screening, falls risk assessment, and referral practices for falls prevention: an exploratory cross-sectional survey study



Urban Australian general practitioners' perceptions of falls risk screening, falls risk assessment, and referral practices for falls prevention: an exploratory cross-sectional survey study



Australian Health Review 41(1): 111-119



Objective The study aimed to explore Australian general practitioners' (GPs) perceptions of falls risk screening, assessment and their referral practices with older people living in the community, and to identify any barriers or facilitators to implementing evidence-based falls prevention practice. Methods Hardcopy surveys and a link to an online survey were distributed to 508 GPs working at one Medicare Local (now part of a Primary Care Network) located in Sydney, Australia. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and key themes were identified from open text responses. Results A total of 37 GPs returned the survey. Only 10 (27%) GPs routinely asked older people about falls, and five (13.5%) asked about fear of falls during clinical consultations. Barriers to managing falls risk were identified. GPs estimated that they made few referrals to allied health professionals for falls interventions. Conclusions GPs were knowledgeable about falls risk factors but this did not result in consistent falls risk screening, assessment or referral practices. Due to the small sample, further research is needed with a larger sample to augment these results. What is known about the topic? Falls are a common and serious health issue for older people and fall prevention is vital, especially in the primary care setting. General practitioners (GPs) are key health professionals to identify older people at risk of falls and refer them to appropriate health professionals for intervention. Evidence-based falls prevention interventions exist but are not easily or routinely accessed by older people. What does this paper add? GPs believe that previous falls are an important falls risk factor but they do not routinely ask about falls or fear of falls in clinical practice with older people. GP referral rates to allied health professionals for falls prevention are low, despite evidence-based falls prevention interventions being provided by allied health professionals. There are several barriers to GPs providing falls prevention assessment and intervention referrals, particularly using the current primary health systems. What are the implications for practitioners? GPs need to recognise their potential significant contribution to falls prevention in the community and may require tailored training. Sustainable evidence-based referral pathways need to be developed so that older people can be referred to allied health professionals for falls prevention interventions in the primary care setting, and better local networks need to be developed to allow this to occur. Policy makers may have to address the identified barriers to multidisciplinary practice and funding of services to facilitate effective falls prevention programs in primary care.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 059208601

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27096324

DOI: 10.1071/ah15152


Related references

How Do General Practitioners (GPs) Engage in Falls Prevention With Older People? A Pilot Survey of GPs in NHS England Suggests a Gap in Routine Practice to Address Falls Prevention. Frontiers in Public Health 7: 32, 2019

Should elderly patients be screened for their 'falls risk'? Validity of the STRATIFY falls screening tool and predictors of falls in a large acute hospital. Age and Ageing 37(6): 702-706, 2008

Cross-sectional and longitudinal risk factors for falls, fear of falling, and falls efficacy in a cohort of middle-aged African Americans. Gerontologist 46(2): 249-257, 2006

Barriers to and promoters of screening for falls in elderly community-dwelling patients by general practitioners: a large cross-sectional survey in two areas of France. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 65: 85-91, 2017

Validation of the Saskatoon Falls Prevention Consortium's Falls Screening and Referral Algorithm. PhysioTherapy Canada. Physiotherapie Canada 65(1): 31-39, 2013

The 'Aachen Falls Prevention Scale' - development of a tool for self-assessment of elderly patients at risk for ground level falls. Patient Safety in Surgery 9(): 7-7, 2015

Risk assessment and falls prevention in the older adult: Asian experience with the Falls Risk for Older People in the Community tool. Geriatrics and Gerontology International 17(3): 518-519, 2017

The design and development of a complex multifactorial falls assessment intervention for falls prevention: The Prevention of Falls Injury Trial (PreFIT). Bmc Geriatrics 17(1): 116, 2017

Screening For Falls And Syncope Risk Factors In Primary Care Is Clinically Effective: Preliminary Evaluation Of The North Tyneside Falls Prevention Service (Ntfps). Age and Ageing 43(Suppl 1): i16-i17, 2014

Falls efficacy, postural balance, and risk for falls in older adults with falls-related emergency department visits: prospective cohort study. Bmc Geriatrics 17(1): 291, 2017

Falls risk factors and a compendium of falls risk screening instruments. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy 33(4): 184-197, 2011

Falls, falls prevention and the role of physiotherapy and exercise: perceptions and interpretations of Italian-born and Australian-born older persons living in Australia. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 30(2): 233-249, 2015

The effect of limited English proficiency on falls risk and falls prevention after stroke. Age and Ageing 41(1): 104-107, 2012

Feasibility of Assessing Falls Risk and Promoting Falls Prevention in Beauty Salons. Journal of Primary Prevention 38(6): 567-581, 2017

Do falls and falls-injuries in hospital indicate negligent care -- and how big is the risk? A retrospective analysis of the NHS Litigation Authority Database of clinical negligence claims, resulting from falls in hospitals in England 1995 to 2006. Quality and Safety in Health Care 17(6): 431-436, 2008