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Predictors of Falls and Fractures Leading to Hospitalization in People With Dementia: A Representative Cohort Study

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Shalini Sharma, Christoph Mueller, Robert Stewart, Nicola Veronese, Davy Vancampfort, Ai Koyanagi, Sarah E. Lamb, Gayan Perera, Brendon Stubbs

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of The American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
Early online date9 May 2018
E-pub ahead of print9 May 2018
Published1 Jul 2018


King's Authors


Objectives Investigate predictors of falls and fractures leading to hospitalization in a large cohort of people with dementia. 
Design A retrospective cohort study. 
Setting and Participants People with diagnosed dementia between January 2007 and March 2013, aged >65 years, were assembled using data from the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre Case Register, from 4 boroughs in London serving a population of 1.3 million people. 
Measures Falls and/or fractures leading to hospitalization were ascertained from linked national records. Demographic data, cognitive test scores, medications, and symptom and functioning scores from Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS65+) were modeled in multivariate survival analyses to identify predictors of falls and fractures. 
Results Of 8036 people with dementia (63.9% female), 2500 (31.1%, incidence rate 125.5 per 1000 person-years) had a fall during a mean follow-up of 2.5 years and 1437 (17.7%, incidence rate 65.5 per 1000 person-years) had a fracture. In multivariable models, significant predictors of falls were increased age, female gender, physical health problems, previous fall or fracture, vascular dementia vs Alzheimer's disease, higher neighborhood deprivation, noncohabiting status, and problems with living conditions. Ethnic minority status was protective of falls (eg, Caribbean/Asian ethnicity). Medications (including psychotropic and antipsychotics), neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive (Mini-Mental State Examination scores), or functional problems did not predict hospitalized falls. Predictors of fractures were similar to those predicting falls. 
Implications Over an average of 2.5 years, a third of people with dementia had a fall leading to hospitalization, necessitating action in clinical practice. Clinicians should consider that besides established demographic and physical health–related factors, the risk of hospitalization due to a fall or fractures in dementia is largely determined by environmental and socioeconomic factors. Interestingly, our data suggest that neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive status, functioning, or pharmacotherapy were not associated with falls/fractures.

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