Falls and Gait Disorders

Published in: Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment / Edited by D. Osterweil, K. Brummel-Smith, J. Beck (New York, N.Y.: McGraw Hill, 2000), p. 573-587

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Laurence Rubenstein

Difficulties with ambulation and the related phenomenon of falling are among the most common and serious problems facing elders causing considerable mortality, morbidity, reduced functioning, and premature nursing home admissions. Impaired gait and balance rank among the most important causes for falls, and are also common consequences of falls. These disorders are generally the result of multiple and diverse etiologies, and health care providers must use careful and thorough diagnostic approaches to identify the most likely causes, contributing factors, and associated comorbidity--many of which conditions respond successfully to treatment.

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