1 Faculty of Public Health, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Elderly people with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus (DM) are at risk of falls, which can lead to injury and disability. Not much is known of informal caregivers’ awareness of falls in elderly patients with DM.
This study aims to identify an association between caregiver’s awareness and falls in elderly patients with DM.
A total of 136 pairs of DM patients and their respective family caregivers were recruited from a clinical service center at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. The questionnaire regarding the caregiver’s awareness of the risk of falls in elderly patients was given via a face-to-face interview. Each elderly patient was asked about their history of falls in the prior year, and the risk of falls was assessed by Time Up & Go (TUG) test. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine association.
The mean age of the DM patients was 65.7 years. Sixty-two patients (45.6%) had fallen at least once in the prior year. The mean TUG test result was 12.67±1.83 second. Most caregivers demonstrated a high level of awareness regarding the risk of falls in elderly patients. The results of the multivariable analysis showed that three variables – balance problems, risk of falls assessed by TUG test, and scores of caregiver’s awareness of risk of falls – were significantly related to falls in the previous year among elderly patients with DM (p-value<0.05).
The caregivers’ awareness of fall risk may influence fall occurrence among older adults with DM. An intervention program to improve awareness among informal caregivers should be considered for fall prevention in elderly people.
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