Risk factors for recurrent falls in older adults: a study protocol for a systematic review with meta-analysis

Deborah A. Jehu, Jennifer C. Davis, Teresa Liu-Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Older adults who fall recurrently (i.e., >1 fall/year) are at risk for functional decline and mortality. Key risk factors for recurrent falls in community-dwelling older adults are not well established due to methodological limitations, such as recall bias. A better understanding of the risk factors for recurrent falls will aid in refining clinical practice guidelines for secondary fall prevention strategies. The primary objective of this systematic review with meta-analysis is to examine the risk factors for recurrent falls in prospective studies among community-dwelling older adults. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A comprehensive search for articles indexed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL databases as well as grey literature was conducted on April 25, 2019. We will use MeSH and keyword search terms around the following topics: falls, recurrence, fall-risk, ageing and prospective studies. Prospective studies with monthly falls monitoring for 12 months, investigating risk factors for recurrent falls in older adults will be included. One author will complete the search. Two authors will remove duplicates and screen the titles and abstracts for their potential inclusion against the eligibility criteria. Two authors will screen the full texts and extract the data using a piloted extraction sheet. Included studies will be evaluated for the risk of bias with the Joanna Briggs Institute Prevalence Critical Appraisal tools. The quality of reporting will be determined with the Strengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology. The data extraction will include study characteristics as well as sociodemographic, balance and mobility, sensory and neuromuscular, psychological, medical, medication and environmental factors. The results will be presented via figures, summary tables, meta-analysis (when possible) and narrative summaries. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: No ethics approval will be required. Findings will be disseminated through publication and media. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019118888; Pre-results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e033602
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 5 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • meta-analysis
  • older adults
  • recurrent falls
  • risk factors
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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