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A Look at the Problem of Falls Among People With Cancer

Sandra Holley
CJON 2002, 6(4), 193-197 DOI: 10.1188/02.CJON.193-197

People with cancer often have multiple risk factors for falls. A major risk factor is aging; because people often are diagnosed with cancer at an older age or are living longer with cancer, many are at risk for falls. Additional risk factors include impaired physical function, sensoryneurologic deficits, use of multiple medications, and deconditioning, often caused by treatment-induced fatigue. Of all types of accidents, falls pose the most serious threat to the elderly. Fall injuries can have serious consequences related to reduced physical functioning and quality of life. A detailed understanding and awareness of the risk factors (both intrinsic and extrinsic) and problems associated with falls can assist oncology nurses to be vigilant in the identification of patients at high risk for falls. These patients may benefit from protocols used in other patient populations, new interventions, or the use of assistive devices.

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