There are a range of factors that contribute towards the risk of having a trip, stumble or fall. These can include a range of intrinsic (or personal) factors and extrinsic (or environmental) factors. These are listed below:

Intrinsic / Personal Factors

  • Impaired strength, flexibility, mobility, gait and balance
  • Recent hospitalization
  • Impaired vision (acuity and depth perception) and has it been 2 years since eyes were tested
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • History of falls – more than 2 in previous 6 months
  • Acute illness and/or deteriorating health and associated medical conditions
  • Polypharmacy (more than 5 prescription medications)
  • Drug and alcohol use affecting balance, vision and alertness
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Impaired cognition, delirium and/or confusion
  • Depression
  • Arthritis/ osteoporosis
  • Low BMI – thinness
  • Incontinence
  • Very thin skin

Extrinsic / Environmental Factors

  • Inadequate footwear
  • Dangling clothing or bed covers
  • Inappropriate walking aids
  • Tripping hazards such as uneven or loose surfaces or rugs, clutter or cords across walkways
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inappropriate height of chairs, beds and toilets
  • Slipping hazards such as wet or polished floors
  • Slippery or uneven steps inside or outside of the home
  • Steps, stairs that have no rails
  • Mobile obstacles inside and in the garden such as pets, hoses, bins, gardening tools, trolleys, walkers, lifters

If your patient/ client has any of these risks factors the good news is that you can both take action to reduce the chance of them falling. For more detailed information on how to reduce the risk of a trip, stumble or fall refer to the ‘How do I reduce falls risk in patients?’ section.