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.