Fiona E. Shaw, MRCP, PhD, Consultant Physician and Geriatrician, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Older people with dementia are at increased risk of falls and their adverse consequences. Postural instability (impaired gait and balance), medication, environmental hazards and neurocardiovascular instability, in particular orthostatic hypotension, are commonly identified as risk factors for falls in this patient group. It is possible to modify risk factors for falls in older people with dementia. However, to date it has not been possible to demonstrate conclusively that intervention can prevent falls in patients with dementia.
Key words: accidental falls, dementia, cognitive impairment, postural instability, neurocardiovascular instability (syncope).