Using the Care Dependency Scale for fall risk screening

Authors

  • Elke I. Mertens,

    1. Elke I. Mertens MA RN Junior Lecturer Department of Nursing Science, Centre for the Humanities and Health Science, Charité– Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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  • Ruud J.G. Halfens,

    1. Ruud J.G. Halfens MA PhD (FEANS) Associate Professor Department of Health Care Studies, Section of Nursing Science, Universiteit Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
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  • Theo Dassen

    1. Theo Dassen MA PhD RN (FEANS) Professor Director of the Department of Nursing Science, Centre for the Humanities and Health Science, Charité– Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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E. Mertens: e-mail: elke.mertens@charite.de

Abstract

Title. Using the Care Dependency Scale for fall risk screening

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of the Care Dependency Scale as a measure of risk of falling for individuals in hospital and nursing home settings.

Background.  Falls and their consequences are common problems in hospitals and nursing homes and nurses should assess the potential risks of their patients. Items in fall risk scales resemble a general nursing assessment, which leads to redundant assessment procedures. It would be beneficial to have a single generic instrument for general assessment and fall risk screening.

Methods.  Standardized questionnaires were used in a cross-sectional study in 2004 and data were gathered from 9943 German nursing home residents and hospital patients (response rate 77·1%). Sensitivity and specificity of all Care Dependency Scale scores were calculated for fall risk. Relationships between the 15 scale items and falls were described using odds ratios and logistic regression analysis.

Findings.  Patients with falls in hospitals were more care dependent than those without falls. Sensitivity and specificity values showed that with the Care Dependency Scale a differentiation is possible between the falls group and the no-falls group. High odds ratios and logistic regression analysis suggest that the Care Dependency Scale item ‘Avoidance of danger’ indicated fall risk. Nursing home residents with and without falls had similar care dependency scores.

Conclusion.  Nursing assessment in hospitals could be simplified by using the Care Dependency Scale for fall risk screening. Its value in fall risk screening in nursing homes requires further testing.

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