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Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy

East Tennessee State University

Identification of Individuals at Risk for Falls with Drug

In the U.S., falls are a significant and costly health concern among older individuals.  As shown in the CDC graphic below, 1 in 4 older adults will suffer a fall this year so prevention is one of the highest priorities for geriatric care.  Researchers from the Mountain Home VA Medical Center, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Sciences, and the Gatton College of Pharmacy have previously demonstrated that drug-based indices may be able to predict fall risk.  Recently, this research group was awarded $50,000 to continue their work on the development of a predictive Quantitative Drug Index (QDI) to validate assessments of drug-related fall risk made by practicing pharmacists. Pharmacists currently evaluate each referred patient for drug-related fall risk, a time- consuming and variable process. An automated drug-based index of fall risk would save both time and money, as well as permit universal assessment of drug-related fall risk, not just patients referred to the pharmacist.

CDC Falls

This interdisciplinary group of researchers include Peter Panus, PhD, Samuel Karpen, PhD, Brian Odle, PharmD and Kelly Covert, PharmD from the Gatton College of Pharmacy, and Courtney Hall, PT PhD, of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Sciences and the Mountain Home VA Medical Center.  Outcomes from these aims will increase the visibility of these novel indices among the research and clinical communities, and generate sufficient preliminary data for external funding applications. Ultimately, introduction of these indices into clinical practice will improve health care and reduce costs for millions of older individuals.


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