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Screening and assessment tools

There are many types of screening tools, so which one do you choose?

The most common and easily implemented falls risk screening tool is asking “Have you fallen in the last 12 months?” or “Do you experience difficulties walking or balancing?”

The details and circumstances of any fall should be determined and a multifactorial intervention approach is usually indicated for high-risk individuals, whilst for others a single intervention may suit.

What makes a good screening tool?

  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • External validation (tested in different settings)
  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • One that is used appropriately

It is important to recognise that a screening tool is not the falls prevention intervention but a tool to identify potential risks. Screening tools are also a great way to start the discussion about falls prevention with older people.

Community Screening & Assessment Tools

WA Falls Specialist Service Referral Form requires a “FROP- Com” to be completed.

To view the complete Falls Risk for Older People in the Community (FROP-Com) Screen see page 136 of the Preventing Falls and Harm From Falls in Older People: Best Practice Guidelines for Australian Community Care. The Quick screen© developed by researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is a multifactorial assessment tool which was designed specifically for use in clinical settings.

NeuRA have also developed an app called icon-FES that assesses fear of falling using pictures to describe a range of activities and situations.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed instructional videos of three assessments that can be used to assess older people’s risk of falling.

  • Timed Up and GO (TUG)
  • 30 second Chair Stand Test
  • 4 Stage Balance Test

Assessing cognition is common when screening for falls risk and there are many screening tools available. It can be difficult to recommend a set of screening tools for the recognition of dementia that are suitable for all older people in all situations.

The Preventing Falls and Harm From Falls in Older People: Best Practice Guidelines for Australian Community Care (page 141) suggests the use of the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS).

Other cognition screening tools include:

  • Mini–mental state examination (MMSE)
  • Mini Cog (clock drawing test)
  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)
Hospital Screening & Assessment Tools

Hospitals in Western Australia mainly use the Fall Risk and Management Plan (FRAMP) to assess risk, implement and monitor interventions.

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.