The aim was to investigate risk factors for falls in elderly people living in residential nursing homes. An observational, prospective, multicentre study was conducted between March 2010 and March 2011 investigating falls in elderly residents living in residential nursing homes (4 Italian¸ 4 French and 5 German nursing homes). A number of risk factors were assessed as well as details of the fall (dynamics, reasons, location and time of occurrence). Differences were observed between the countries related to different nursing practices. Fallers comprised 36.5% of all residents and approximately 40% were injured as a consequence. Six logistic regression models were created to assess which fallrelated variables had the most impact, and showed subjects with faecal incontinence had a lower risk of falling, while subjects afflicted with dementia and visual impairment showed an increased risk of falling. Higher Tinetti scores were found to be related to an increased fall risk. Falls in the elderly occur due to complex interactions between demographic, physical, behavioural and environmental risk factors. Differences between countries in fall rates were seen, probably due to different medical practices, use of aids and restraints, and characteristics of the populations (i.e. the Italian residents tended to be more cognitively impaired and more impaired in balance and gait compared to the French and German residents). There was evidence that subjects with a better clinical status fall more frequently, whereas non-fallers had a worse clinical status and therefore tended to be more bedridden.
Accidental falls; elderly; health status; risk factors.