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Researchers make progress on falls prevention tool

Researchers are developing a falls prediction tool that hopes to reduce the risk of medication-related falls.

The new STRATIFY-Falls tool aims to predict which patients are most at risk of falling in the next one to ten years. This could allow GPs to provide more personalised care and target falls prevention strategies for patients, such as exercise-based interventions or drug reviews.

The risk of a serious fall increases as people age and develop chronic medical conditions. Other risk factors include a history of previous falls, having a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, heavy alcohol consumption, a high deprivation score, and prescribed drugs such as blood pressure medications, also known as antihypertensives.

When blood pressure becomes too low, there can be a temporary drop in the amount of blood that flows to the brain leading to fainting and falling. This effect is especially common as people change position from sitting to standing.

The tool has been developed by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, to consider all risk factors for a fall over one to ten years.

Further testing of the tool will take place next year.

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