Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Carole R. Myers

Committee Members

Ruth P. Lopez, John G. Orme, Pamela D. Hardesty


Falls are a common and devastating complication of hospital admission for older adults. Falls are especially significant for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD) as they are at high risk to fall and to suffer injuries from falling. Despite the large body of research on falls in hospitals, less is known about fall risk factors among patients with ADRD. The purpose of this retrospective case-control study was to determine which risk factors are predictors of falls among hospitalized older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) by comparing those who fell with those who did not fall.

A series of bivariate regression analyses was conducted. There was a statistically significant relationship between falls and: length of stay (LOS), sex, race, agitation/restlessness, altered awareness of immediate physical environment, the diagnosis related group (DRG) of infectious disease, elimination (incontinence), required assistance required for ambulation, and unsteady gait. There was no statistically significant relationship between falls and: age, high-risk comorbidities, high-risk medications, severity of illness (SOI), confusion, forgetfulness, impulsivity, lack of understanding of one’s physical and cognitive limitations, use of an assistive device, history of a fall within six months, use of an assistive device to ambulate (e.g., cane, walker), visual or auditory impairments affecting mobility.

The findings from this study are still important because, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first study to compare hospitalized older adults with ADRD who fell and those who did not. This study serves as a first step, laying the groundwork for future studies in which effective fall prevention programs tailored to the unique needs of these patients are developed.

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