Impact of Fear of Falling for Patients and Caregivers: Perceptions Before and After Participation in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of fear of falling (FoF) on older patients with dizziness history and their caregivers to better determine holistic needs when developing a patient-family centered approach to falling risk reduction. Method A mixed-method design was used, incorporating a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 2014
Impact of Fear of Falling for Patients and Caregivers: Perceptions Before and After Participation in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. Honaker
    University of Nebraska—Lincoln
  • Laura W. Kretschmer
    University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Julie Honaker: jhonaker2@unl.edu
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Balance & Balance Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 2014
Impact of Fear of Falling for Patients and Caregivers: Perceptions Before and After Participation in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy
American Journal of Audiology, March 2014, Vol. 23, 20-33. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/12-0074)
History: Received November 28, 2012 , Revised April 29, 2013 , Accepted May 6, 2013
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 2014, Vol. 23, 20-33. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/12-0074)
History: Received November 28, 2012; Revised April 29, 2013; Accepted May 6, 2013

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of fear of falling (FoF) on older patients with dizziness history and their caregivers to better determine holistic needs when developing a patient-family centered approach to falling risk reduction.

Method A mixed-method design was used, incorporating a phenomenological qualitative approach to explore the impact of FoF in 14 patients and a family member or spouse of each patient. Quantitative analysis was used to further interpret results of interviews conducted before and after participation in a vestibular and balance rehabilitation program designed to reduce falling risk and improve balance confidence.

Results Qualitative analysis of participant interviews pre and post vestibular rehabilitation revealed lifestyle changes for both participants and family caregivers due to FoF and the need for reducing falling concerns. Patient age showed statistically significant differences in levels of balance confidence, with younger participants (≤ 65 years) showing more concerns about the consequences of falling, even after rehabilitation, than older participants (> 65 years).

Conclusion The study highlights the impact of FoF on participation and activity levels of patients and family caregivers, as well as the need to thoroughly evaluate falling fears to achieve a holistic rehabilitation outcome.

Acknowledgments
A portion of this paper was presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association on November 4, 2007, in Boston, MA. The authors wish to thank Drs. Robert Keith, Daniel Choo, and Patrick Shumrick for their valuable assistance and expertise during the development of this study. We also wish to recognize the patients and caregivers for their participation in this study.
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