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Information 'key' to older people managing fall risk

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It is crucial that older patients who have experienced a traumatic hip fracture are given information to help them reduce future risk of a repeat event, according to Scottish researchers.

They said their findings reiterated the “vital role” of health professionals in providing information to patients and their families.

The study by the University of the West of Scotland involved interviews with 19 older patients.

They found older patients attempted to control the risk of future falls through strategies of “protective guarding” or “following orders”, both of which required the provision of information.

Without this information, older people struggled and were likely to make the wrong choices. The authors said: “Older people miscalculated risk where they experienced information deficits which left them ‘grasping to understand’.”

They added: “Our study suggests that engaging older people in discussions to acknowledge their perceptions of future risk and to provide tailored information on managing risk is crucial, as this will impact on how they attempt to take control.

“Older people need information to take control, rebuild their damaged confidence and ultimately regain their independence.”

The findings were presented on Monday at the Royal College of Nursing’s international research conference in London.

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