Although numerous studies have identified medical antecedents of falls among the elderly (premonitory), few have examined falls as a possible predictor of subsequent disease onset (prodromal falling). This study compared disease incidence (up to 12 months after the first fall) among fallers (n = 42) and nonfallers (n = 20) selected from 236 admissions to the health care center of a nursing home. Data collected on up to five new falls per resident (total of 102 falls) included (a) predictors of falls, (b) circumstance of falls, and (c) postfall events. Results showed that although faller and nonfaller groups were similar on admission in both numbers and types of medical diseases, fallers showed greater frequency of developing new medical problems in the 12-month postfall follow-up period. However, no particular medical diseases were found to singularly account for the greater number of medical problems evident among fallers. Additionally, fallers tended to be more impaired on admission in ambulation and daily living abilities than nonfallers.
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