Experiences of fear of falling in persons with Parkinson's disease - A qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Fear of falling is common among persons with Parkinson's disease and is negatively associated with quality of life. However a lack of in-depth understanding of fear of falling as a phenomenon persists. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of fear of falling in persons with Parkinson's disease. Methods: Individual interviews were performed with twelve persons with Parkinson's disease (median age 70 years, median Parkinson duration 9 years, 50% women). The interviews were semi-structured and followed a study-specific interview guide. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results: Fear of falling was experienced as a disturbing factor in everyday life. It generated a feeling of vulnerability and made daily activities and everyday environments seem potentially hazardous. Persons also missed performing previous activities. The fear of falling was a varying experience, fueled by an awareness of falls and near falls, Parkinson-related symptoms and disabilities, and by others in their environment. The persons adopted different strategies to handle their fear of falling. Activities were adapted, avoided, performed with help, or carried out despite their fear of falling. Conclusions: The experiences of fear of falling were complex, multifaceted and varied over time and in relation to different activities and environments. This indicates that interventions targeting fear of falling need to be individually tailored for persons with Parkinson's disease and should focus on several aspects, such as Parkinson-related symptoms and disabilities, activities and environmental factors. This study provides new information that increases the understanding of fear of falling, which has implications for researchers as well as clinicians working with persons with Parkinson's disease and fear of falling.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Luleå University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geriatrics

Keywords

  • Accidental falls, Interview, Parkinson disease, Qualitative research, Self efficacy
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 6
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes