Simple screening test for risk of falls in the elderly


  • Disclosure of commercial interest: This study was financially supported by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan (Medical Frontier Strategy Research-H13-Chihou/Kossetu-019). The authors confirm that there is no commercial interest of the authors in the findings presented in this study.

Dr Jiro Okochi, Hara-Doi Hospital, 6-4-8 Aoba, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 813-8588, Japan. Email:


Background:  The aim of this study is to construct a simple screening test for the risk of falls in community-dwelling elder persons.

Methods:  A total of 1378 community-dwelling people aged 65 years and older in five different communities in Japan were asked to answer a self rated questionnaire including 22 items covering physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of functioning and environmental factors. At a six-month follow-up, the outcome of fall occurrence and the number of falls was ascertained by social workers, health visitors or nurses.

Results:  Five out of 22 items were selected using a logistic regression model. Using this five-item version, a screening test was constructed, and at the best cut-off point, the sensitivity and specificity were 68% and 70%, respectively. The validity of this scale was tested on persons with cognitive dysfunction.

Conclusion:  The simplicity and the predictive validity of the screening test support the use of this test in health check ups or general outpatient facilities.