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Objectives. To compare 12-month falls recall with falls reported prospectively on daily falls calendars in a clinical trial of women aged ≥70 years. Methods. 2,096 community-dwelling women at high risk of falls and/or fracture completed a daily falls calendar and standardised interviews when falls were recorded, for 12 months. Data were compared to a 12-month falls recall question that categorised falls status as “no falls,” “a few times,” “several,” and “regular” falls. Results. 898 (43%) participants reported a fall on daily falls calendars of whom 692 (77%) recalled fall(s) at 12 months. Participants who did not recall a fall were older (median 79.3 years versus 77.8 years, ). Smaller proportions of fallers who sustained an injury or accessed health care failed to recall a fall (all ). Among participants who recalled “no fall,” 85% reported zero falls on daily calendars. Few women selected falls categories of “several times” or “regular” (4.1% and 0.4%, resp.) and the sensitivity of these categories was low (30% to 33%). Simply categorising participants into fallers or nonfallers had 77% sensitivity and 94% specificity. Conclusion. For studies where intensive ascertainment of falls is not feasible, 12-month falls recall questions with fewer responses may be an acceptable alternative.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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