Arlene A. Schmid, Sarah E. Arnold, Valerie A. Jones, M. Jane Ritter, Stephanie A. Sapp, Marieke Van Puymbroeck; Fear of Falling in People With Chronic Stroke. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(3):6903350020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.016253
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We assessed the prevalence of fear of falling (FoF) in a sample of people with chronic stroke and compared multiple variables (balance, anxiety, depression, activity and participation, and stroke severity) in people with and without FoF.
METHOD. This study was a secondary analysis of data collected from a cross-sectional study of mobility after stroke in 77 participants with chronic stroke (>6 mo poststroke).
RESULTS. Of the 77 participants, 51 (66%) reported experiencing FoF. People with FoF had significantly decreased balance (p < .001) and activity and participation (p = .006) and significantly increased anxiety (p = .007). People with FoF also had significantly worse stroke severity (p = .001).
CONCLUSION. FoF is a prevalent concern in the chronic stroke population. The presence of FoF was associated with a variety of negative consequences. Occupational therapy practitioners should address FoF to help clients manage FoF and possibly improve recovery.
FoF is likely to limit or slow overall recovery trajectories and the ability to function in many clients with stroke receiving occupational therapy services. Therefore, intervention planning should incorporate strategies to address FoF.
By addressing FoF, occupational therapy practitioners may have a positive effect on other client variables, such as balance, anxiety, and activity and participation.
For clients with chronic stroke, a well-rounded, client-centered intervention program addresses both traditional areas of occupational therapy (e.g., occupation-based interventions, activities of daily living retraining, and functional mobility) and FoF.
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