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JFSF Vol 8, No 4, December 2023, p.240-253

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-08-240


Review Article

Fall risk question-based tools for fall screening in community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review of the literature

Chrysoula Argyrou1,2, Yannis Dionyssiotis3, Antonios Galanos1, John Vlamis4, Ioannis K. Triantafyllopoulos5, Ismene A. Dontas1, Efstathios Chronopoulos1

  1. Laboratory for Research of the Musculoskeletal System “Th. Garofalidis”, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, General Hospital of Athens KAT, Greece
  2. 4th Orthopaedic Department, General Hospital of Athens KAT, Greece
  3. Spinal Cord Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic, University of Patras, Greece
  4. 3rd University Orthopaedic Department, General Hospital of Athens KAT, Greece
  5. 5th Orthopaedic Department, HYGEIA Hospital, Athens, Greece

Keywords: Community-dwelling older adults, Elderly, Fall risk, Fall risk screening, Questionnaires


Fall screening tools aim to accurately identify the high fall risk individuals. To increase ease of administration and cost-effectiveness many studies focus on question-based tools. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify question-based tools for fall risk assessment in community-dwelling older adults over the age of 60 and the risk factors that are covered by these tools. The PRISMA guidelines were followed. A literature search was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science and Google Scholar. Data quality assessment was performed with the Ottawa-Newcastle scale. The results identified 20 studies that used 22 question-based tools to assess fall risk. The number of questions per tool varied from 1 to 41 questions. Data quality varied greatly, with values 3-9 for cohort and 2-7 for cross-sectional studies. The most commonly reported fall risk factors were fall history, feeling of unsteadiness, fear of falling, muscle strength, gait limitation and incontinence. Healthcare providers should use the above tools with caution regarding the limitations of each tool. Further studies should be designed to address individuals with high fall risk, such as individuals with cognitive impairment, as they are under-represented or excluded from most of the existing studies.
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