February 2007 Author in the Room® Teleconference
Author: David Ganz, MD, MPH
Screening for falls is as simple as asking the patient if she's fallen in the past year. For patients who have not fallen, ask about gait or balance problems (e.g., "Do you have a walking or balance problem?").
Most older patients who have a history of falls in the past year, or a gait/balance problem, have at least a 50 percent chance of falling in the coming year. You may want to do a more thorough evaluation on these patients.
To make screening easy for new patients, add into your pre-visit questionnaire questions that ask about a history of falls and/or gait/balance problems. Or, have your office staff ask these questions routinely when patients are being checked in.