Differences in Evaluating Fall Risk by Primary Care Provider Type

      Study Highlights

      • Fall risk screening, assessment, and intervention can prevent falls.
      • Nurse practitioners (NPs) were more likely than other PCPs to screen for fall risk at each wellness visit.
      • Less than half of providers reported using standardized fall-risk assessment tests.
      • Less than 16% of NPs use the Beers Criteria when prescribing medications.
      • Enhanced fall prevention training could improve patient care and health outcomes.


      This study assessed differences in clinical fall risk assessment of older adults (aged 65 and older) and clinical resources used by primary care providers (PCP). Porter Novelli’s 2016 DocStyles survey was used to examine clinical behavior data from PCPs (n = 1128). Compared with other practitioners, nurse practitioners (NP) reported that a higher percentage of their patients were older adults. The majority of NPs reported screening for falls risk routinely, but most did not use standardized fall-risk assessments to assess risk factors. There were also differences in the types of clinical resources used by NPs and other PCPs to evaluate the safety profile of medications.


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      Janice A. Mark, DNP, FNP-BC, is a public health nurse fellow at the Division of Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA in a cooperative agreement with American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Washington DC. She can be reached at [email protected] .


      Yara K. Haddad, PharmD, MPH, is a Totally Joined for Acheiving Collaborative Techniques (TJFACT) geriatric pharmacist consultant for the Division of Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.


      Elizabeth R. Burns, MPH, is a CDC health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Injury Prevention, Atlanta, GA.