A fall is often defined as a sudden and unintentional change in position resulting in an individual landing at a lower level such as on an object, the floor, or the ground, with or without injury (Tinetti, 1997) 1 . Among Canadian seniors, falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations, and absolute numbers are on the rise. Falls can lead to negative mental health outcomes such as fear of falling, loss of autonomy and greater isolation, confusion, immobilization and depression. In addition to the negative physical and mental health consequences of falling, there are significant associated financial costs, estimated at $2 billion annually, a value 3.7 times greater than that for younger adults (SMART RISK, 2009) 2

•   Have you fallen in the last year?
•   Are you afraid of falling?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above:

•    Is the person presenting with an acute fall with injury? 
•    Has the person fallen two or more times in the past 12 months?
•    Are there difficulties with gait or balance? (AGS/BGS Guidelines 2011) 3

Additional resources:

  • Frailty eLearning Module - “Falls
  • GiiC Toolkit - “Falls


  1. Tinetti, M., Baker, D., Dutcher, J., Vincent, J. & Rozett, R. (1997) Reducing the risk of falls among older adults in the community. Berkeley, CA: Peaceable Kingdom Press.
  2. SMART RISK (2009).The economic burden of injury in Canada. Toronto,ON. Accessed from http://www.parachutecanada.org/downloads/research/reports/EBI2009-Eng-Final.pdf
  3. Panel on Fall prevention in Older Persons, American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society. Summary of the updated American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention of Falls in Older Persons.(2011) J AM Geriatric 59(1):148-157.