Testing the reliability of the Fall Risk Screening Tool in an elderly ambulatory population.

Document Type


Publication Date



Internal Medicine, Nursing

Journal Title

Journal of nursing management.

MeSH Headings

Accidental Falls, Aged, Ambulatory Care, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Humans, Mass Screening, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Assessment


AIM: To identify and test the reliability of a fall risk screening tool in an ambulatory outpatient clinic.

BACKGROUND: The Fall Risk Screening Tool (Albert Lea Medical Center, MN, USA) was scripted for an interview format.

METHOD: Two interviewers separately screened a convenience sample of 111 patients (age ≥ 65 years) in an ambulatory outpatient clinic in a northeastern US city.

RESULT: The interviewers' scoring of fall risk categories was similar. There was good internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.834-0.889) and inter-rater reliability [intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) = 0.824-0.881] for total, Risk Factor and Client's Health Status subscales. The Physical Environment scores indicated acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.742) and adequate reliability (ICC = 0.688). Two Physical Environment items (furniture and medical equipment condition) had low reliabilities [Kappa (K) = 0.323, P = 0.08; K = -0.078, P = 0.648), respectively.

CONCLUSION: The scripted Fall Risk Screening Tool demonstrated good reliability in this sample. Rewording two Physical Environment items will be considered.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: A reliable instrument such as the scripted Fall Risk Screening Tool provides a standardised assessment for identifying high fall risk patients. This tool is especially useful because it assesses personal, behavioural and environmental factors specific to community-dwelling patients; the interview format also facilitates patient-provider interaction.



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