Aims: This study investigated the incidence, associated factors and health care provider response to falls in 474 MS’ers.
Methods: The study was done via a postal survey questionnaire
Results: A total of 265 (58.2%) MS’ers reported one or more falls in the previous 6 months.
58.5% of falls resulted in injuries. Tripping or slipping while walking accounted for 48% of falls.
The following factors increased the risk of falls:
- Use of a cane or walker by a factor of 2.6
- Annual income of less $25,000 by a factor of 1.85
- balance problems by a factor of 1.28
- leg weakness by a factor of 1.26
Only 51% of those who fell (135/265) reported to speaking to their health care provider about their falls. Recommended management strategies from their health care provider to reduce falls included:
- safety strategies (53.2%)
- use of gait assistive devices (42.1%)
- exercise/balance training (22.2%)
- home modifications (16.6%)
Conclusions: Factors associated with falls in MS’ers are similar to those in other populations with neurological diseases. Despite the high incidence of falls, fewer than 50% of MS’ers receive information about prevention of falls from their health care providers (neurologists, clinical nurse specialists, general practitioners).
“Again this article highlights a neglected problem in MS’ers; falls. Worryingly it appears as if there is a disconnect between the neurologists and the problems their patients are having.”
“If they don’t ask, which they should, it is very important that if you are having falls or near falls that you let your neurological team know about it. There is a lot of simple things that can be done to prevent falls and reduce the risk of injuries associated with them.”