Development and Validation of a Questionnaire for Analyzing Real-Life Falls in Long-Term Care Captured On Video

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BMC Geriatrics 2013, 13:40 doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-40

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Fall mechanisms
Older adults
Long-term care
Video analysis


Falls are the number one cause of injuries in older adults, and are particularly common in long-term care (LTC). Lack of objective evidence on the mechanisms of falls in this setting is a major barrier to prevention. Video capture of real-life falls can help to address this barrier, if valid tools are available for data analysis. To address this need, we developed a 24-item fall video analysis questionnaire (FVAQ) to probe key biomechanical, behavioural, situational, and environmental aspects of the initiation, descent, and impact stages of falls. We then tested the reliability of this tool using video footage of falls collected in LTC.


Over three years, we video-captured 221 falls experienced by 130 individuals in common areas (e.g., dining rooms, hallways, and lounges) of two LTC facilities. The FVAQ was developed through literature review and an iterative process to ensure our responses captured the most common behaviours observed in preliminary review of fall videos. Inter-rater reliability was assessed by comparing responses from two teams, each having three members, who reviewed 15 randomly-selected videos. Intra-rater reliability was measured by comparing responses from one team at baseline and 12 months later.


In 17 of the 24 questions, the percentage of inter- and intra-rater agreement was over 80% and the Cohen's Kappa was greater than 0.60, reflecting good reliability. These included questions on the cause of imbalance, activity at the time of the fall, fall direction, stepping responses, and impact to specific body sites. Poorer agreement was observed for footwear, contribution of clutter, reach-to-grasp responses, and perceived site of injury risk.


Our results provide strong evidence of the reliability of the FVAQ for classifying biomechanical, behavioural, situational, and environmental aspects of falls captured on video in common areas in LTC. Application of this tool should reveal new and important strategies for the prevention and treatment of falls and fall-related injuries in this setting.

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