Series Editor: Marie Boltz, PhD, APRN, BC, GNPManaging Editor: Sherry A. Greenberg, MSN, APRN, BC, GNPNew York University College of Nursing
Fall Risk Assessment for Older Adults: The Hendrich II Fall Risk Model
By: Deanna Gray-Miceli, DNSc, APRN, BC, FAANP, University of Pennsylvania;
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
: Falls among older adults, unlike other ages tend to occur from multifactorial etiology such as acute1,2,3 and chronic4
illness, medications,5 as a prodrome to other diseases,6 or as idiopathic phenomena. Because the rate of falling increases
proportionally with increased number of pre-existing conditions and risk factors,7 fall risk assessment is a useful guideline
for practitioners. One must also determine the underlying etiology of “why” a fall occurred with a comprehensive post-fall
assessment.8 Fall risk assessment and post-fall assessment are two interrelated, but distinct approaches to fall evaluation,
both recommended by national professional organizations.9
BEST PRACTICE APPROACH
: In acute care, a best practice approach incorporates use of the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model
which is quick to administer and provides a determination of risk for falling based on gender, mental and emotional status,
symptoms of dizziness, and known categories of medications increasing risk.10 This tool screens for primary prevention of
falls and is integral in a post-fall assessment for the secondary prevention of falls.
: The Hendrich II Fall Risk Model is intended to be used in the acute care setting to identify adults
at risk for falls. The Model is being validated for further application of the specific risk factors in pediatrics and obstetrical
VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
: The Hendrich II Fall Risk Model was validated in a large case control study in an acute care
tertiary facility with skilled nursing and rehabilitation populations. The risk factors in the model had a statistically significant
relationship with patient falls (Odds Ratio 10.12-1.00, .01 > p <.0001). Content validity was established through an
exhaustive literature review, use of accepted nursing nomenclature and the extensive experience of the principal investigators
in this area.11 The instrument is sensitive (74.9%), specific (73.9%) with interrater reliability measuring 100% agreement.
STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS
: The major strengths of the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model are its brevity, the inclusion of
“risky” medication categories, and its focus on interventions for specific areas of risk rather than on a single, summed
general risk score. Categories of medications increasing fall risk as well as adverse side effects from medications leading to
falls are built into this tool. Further, with permission, the Model can be inserted into existing documentation forms or used
as a single document. It has been built into electronic health records with targeted interventions that prompt and alert the
caregiver to modify and/or reduce specific risk factors present.11
Best practice information on care of older adults: www.ConsultGeriRN.org.
1. Ooi, W.L., Hossain, M., & Lipsitz, L.A. (2000). The association between orthostatic hypotension and recurrent falls in nursing home residents.
American Journal of Medicine, 108
2. Davies, A.J., Steen, N., & Kenny, R.A. (2001). Carotid sinus hypersensitivity is common in older patients presenting to an accident and emergency department
with unexplained falls. Age and Ageing, 30
3. Heitterachi, E., Lord, S.R., Meyerkort, P., McCloskey, I., & Fitzpatrick, R. (2002). Blood pressure changes on upright tilting predict falls in older people.
Age and Ageing, 31
4. Stolze, H., Klebe, S., Zechlin, C., Baecker, C., Friege, L., & Deuschl, G. (2004). Falls in frequent neurological diseases-prevalence, risk factors and etiology.
Journal of Neurology, 251
5. Leipzig, R.M., Cumming, R.G., & Tinetti, M.E. (1999). Drugs and falls in older people: A systematic review and meta-analysis: Cardiac and analgesic drugs.
6. Gray-Miceli, D., Waxman, H., Cavalieri, T., & Lage, S. (1991). Prodromal falls among older nursing home residents. Applied Nursing Research, 7
7. Tinetti, M.E., Williams, T.S., & Mayewski, R. (1986). Fall risk index for elderly patients based on number of chronic disabilities.
American Journal of Medicine, 80
8. Gray-Miceli, D., Johnson, J, & Strumpf, N. (2005). A step-wise approach to a comprehensive post-fall assessment. Annals of Long-Term Care, 13
9. American Geriatrics Society, British Geriatrics Society, & American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Panel on Falls Prevention. (2001). Guidelines for the
prevention of falls in older persons. JAGS, 49
10. Hendrich, A.L. Bender, P.S. & Nyhuis, A. (2003). Validation of the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model: A Large Concurrent CASE/Control Study of Hospitalized Patients.
Applied Nursing Research, 16
11. Hendrich, A., Nyhuuis, A., Kippenbrock, T., & Soga, M.E. (1995). Hospital falls: Development of a predictive model for clinical practice.
Applied Nursing Research, 8
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for not-for-profit educational purposes only, provided that
The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, College of Nursing, New York University is cited as the source. This material may be downloaded and/or distributed in electronic
format, including PDA format. Available on the internet at www.hartfordign.org
. E-mail notification of usage to: firstname.lastname@example.org
: Fall Risk Assessment with prior falls history
An 80 year old woman with new onset confusion, anxiety and urinary incontinence who has fallen repeatedly at home in the
past 2 months is hospitalized for further observation and possible long-term care placement. On admission she is anxious
and confused, and unable to move. Medications include Haldol 0.5 mg PO BID and Ativan 0.5 mg PO BID both started 1
week prior to admission. Admission laboratory work shows a normal CBC and SMA-12. The urinalysis has 50 WBC per high
power field and +2 Bacteria. The Hendrich II fall risk score was 9. A comprehensive post-fall evaluation and review of the
high risk parameters led to a presumptive diagnosis of the underlying cause of the fall: acute confusion due to urinary tract
infection. Haldol and Ativan were stopped and Bactrim DS BID was started. Two weeks later, the urinary incontinence,
confusion and anxiety lessened and the falling stopped. She was discharged home to live with her daughter.
: This woman possesses several “red flag” areas of a dynamic nature, e.g., falls occurring on an acute,
potentially reversible basis, acute urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, poly-pharmacy and delirium. Falling is
related to these dynamic events and once the underlying causes of the fall were identified and managed, the falling stopped.
Note that the review of fall related risk factors surfaced no past or static events associated with falls, such as dementia or
Parkinson’s disease, but use of the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model captured significant risk factors including confusion (4
points), administered benzodiazepines (1 point) and inability to rise (4 points). These risks elicited from the Hendrich II
Fall Risk Model along with information from a comprehensive post-fall assessment informed the nursing interventions and
overall plan of care.
Hendrich II Fall Risk Model™
Get Up & Go Test
Able to rise in a single movement – No loss of balance with steps
Unable to rise without assistance during test
(OR if a medical order states the same and/or complete bed rest is ordered)
* If unable to assess, document this on the patient chart with the date and time
A Score of 5 or Greater = High Risk Total Score
2007 AHI of Indiana Inc. All Rights Reserved. US Patent (US20050182305) has been allowed.
Reproduction and use prohibited except by written permission from AHI of Indiana Inc.
The Hartford Institute for Geriatric NursingEMAIL: email@example.com
HARTFORD INSTITUTE WEBSITE: www.hartfordign.org
CONSULTGERIRN WEBSITE: www.ConsultGeriRN.org
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