Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Patton, Susan

Committee Member/Reader

Smith-Blair, Nan

Committee Member/Second Reader

Agana, Carol


Title: The Relationship Between Community Dwelling Older Adult’s Fall Risk and Beliefs of Risk for Falling in Northwest Arkansas and Bolgatanga, Ghana.

Gohman, N., Patton, S., Smith-Blair, N., Agana, C.: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Background: Older adults worldwide live with comorbidities, physical and psychological changes associated with aging. Statistically, however, older adults are more likely to die as a result of falling. As the worldwide population of individuals over 65 rises, so will the possibility for injuries from falls. Much research has been published concerning fall risk prevention, but minimal research surrounding protocols and practices for protecting against falls in developing countries has been published.

Purpose: Evaluate and compare the relationship between community dwelling older adult’s fall risk and their perceived risk of falling in a developed and a developing country.

Methodology: The study sample consisted of 35 participants, selected at random. A mixed method approach was used. Semi-structured interviews based on constructs of the Health Belief Model measured perceived fall risk. Risk factors for falls were determined using the Center for Disease Control (CDC) STEADI fall risk assessment tool.

Results: The average age of all participants was 73 years, with 30% from NW Arkansas and 70% from Ghana. Eight subjects reported falling within the past year. The majority of subjects reported their chance of falling as low. When asked about confidence level to prevent falling, mixed reactions ranging from laughing, being concerned, to being serious were documented. Many older adults realized the complications falling would have on their physical well being, as well as the increase in burden and negative emotional effect on the caregiver. There was an overall lack of knowledge by the general population of what to do to prevent falling. The biggest barrier reported by participants to prevent falling was the layout of homes and buildings, the physical outside environment, and lack of lighting to see. There was a lack of knowledge to knowing prevention strategies, as the only benefit stated was the individual would not fall.

Discussion/Results: According to the results of the STEADI assessment, only 1 out of 35 participants actually passed the fall risk assessment. There is a lack of knowledge about falling, therefore individuals were confident that they could prevent falling despite results showing their high fall risk. More people were confident in Northewst Arkansas that they could prevent falls compared to Ghana. By 2050, the global population of adults over the age of 60 is expected to reach nearly 2.1 billion, with two thirds residing in developing countries. Results from this study indicate that many older adults believe that they have low chance of falling even when their risk is high. Global awareness is needed about the seriousness of falls in this population and for prevention that will reduce injury and hospital admissions.


nursing, geriatrics, falling, risk, community