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Fall Risk Assessment Guidelines


Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2014;22(5):36-41.


Allison H. Burfield, RN, MSN, PhD; James W. Cooper, RPh, PhD, BCPS

Allison H. Burfield, RN, MSN, PhD, is assistant professor, School of Nursing, College of Health and Human Services, and affiliate faculty in Gerontology and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar (2013-2016), University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She can be reached at

James W. Cooper, RPh, PhD, BCPS, is emeritus professor of pharmacy and a consultant pharmacist, The University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, Athens, and formerly clinical assistant professor of family medicine, The Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Health Sciences University), Augusta. He can be reached at

A crucial aspect of any fall prevention program is conducting regular fall risk assessments, as they can provide important insights on how to reduce fall risks. To maximize the benefit of these assessments, they should be completed within 24 hours of admission, quarterly, whenever there is a significant change in a resident’s cognitive or physical status, and following any fall. In approximately 33% of cases, a single potential cause can be identified, whereas in approximately 66% of cases, more than one risk factor is involved. To assess the multifactorial cause of falls, the authors developed a falls risk assessment instrument that accompanied their article "Assessing Pain and Falls Risk in Residents With Cognitive Impairment: Associated Problems With Overlooked Assessments". A downloadable PDF of this instrument can be accessed below.
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