Impact of fear of falling for patients and caregivers: Perceptions before and after participation in vestibular and balance rehabilitation therapy

Julie A. Honaker, Laura W. Kretschmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of fear of falling (FoF) on older patients with dizziness history and their caregivers to better determine holistic needs when developing a patient-family centered approach to falling risk reduction. Method: A mixed-method design was used, incorporating a phenomenological qualitative approach to explore the impact of FoF in 14 patients and a family member or spouse of each patient. Quantitative analysis was used to further interpret results of interviews conducted before and after participation in a vestibular and balance rehabilitation program designed to reduce falling risk and improve balance confidence. Results: Qualitative analysis of participant interviews pre and post vestibular rehabilitation revealed lifestyle changes for both participants and family caregivers due to FoF and the need for reducing falling concerns. Patient age showed statistically significant differences in levels of balance confidence, with younger participants (≤ 65 years) showing more concerns about the consequences of falling, even after rehabilitation, than older participants (> 65 years). Conclusion: The study highlights the impact of FoF on participation and activity levels of patients and family caregivers, as well as the need to thoroughly evaluate falling fears to achieve a holistic rehabilitation outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-33
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Audiology
  • Balance
  • Gerontology
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing

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