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Is intervention to prevent falls necessary in prior polio patients?

Katarina Skough Vreede, Lisbet Broman, Kristian Borg
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Danderyd University Hospital, Building 39, Floor 3, SE-182 88 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: katarina.skough-vreede@sll.se
DOI: 10.2340/20030711-1000023

Abstract

Objective: To investigate whether intervention to prevent falls is necessary in prior polio patients, by identifying the frequency, circumstances and consequences of falls among patients in Sweden with prior polio.
Subjects: Patients with prior polio diagnosis.
Methods: A falls history questionnaire was completed by patients with prior polio visiting the outpatient clinic at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Danderyd University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, or participating in group activities organized by the patient organization.
Results: A total of 80 patients answered the questionnaire; 32 men and 48 women. Eighty-one percent (n = 63/77) of respondents walked outdoors, but rarely more than 1 km, or only inside and near the house. Three-quarters of patients had fallen one or more times over the past year and one-quarter of patients had fallen 5 times or more. The falls often occurred during daytime in an environment known to the patient. Sixty-nine percent (n = 40/58) of respondents had been injured due to falling during the past year. The most common injuries were minor injuries.
Conclusion: Falls are common in patients in Sweden with prior polio. Interventions to prevent falls in people with prior polio are therefore clinically relevant.

Lay Abstract

Many patients with prior polio have muscle weakness in the lower extremities. The aim of the current study was to investigate if intervention to prevent falls is necessary in patients with prior polio. Therefore, the frequency, circumstances and consequences of falls in Swedish patients with prior polio were determined. The study was performed at the outpatient clinic at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Danderyd University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. A total of 80 patients answered a questionnaire about falls history. Three-quarters of patients had fallen one or more times over the past year, and one-quarter of patients had fallen 5 times or more. The falls often occurred during daytime in an environment known to the patient. It is concluded that falls are common among patients in Sweden with prior polio. Interventions to prevent falls in people with prior polio are therefore clinically relevant, as described in earlier studies.

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