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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 196395, 9 pages
Research Article

Perceived Cause, Environmental Factors, and Consequences of Falls in Adults with Cerebral Palsy: A Preliminary Mixed Methods Study

1Department of Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
2Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
3Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

Received 17 September 2014; Revised 3 February 2015; Accepted 9 February 2015

Academic Editor: Eva Widerström-Noga

Copyright © 2015 Prue Morgan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Describe perceived cause, environmental influences, and consequences of falls or near-falls in ambulant adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods. Adults with CP completed postal surveys and follow-up semistructured interviews. Surveys sought information on demographic data, self-nominated Gross Motor Function Classification Score (GMFCS-E&R), falls, and near-falls. Interviews gathered additional information on falls experiences, near-falls, and physical and psychosocial consequences. Results. Thirty-four adults with CP participated. Thirty-three participants reported at least one fall in the previous year. Twenty-six participants reported near-falls. Most commonly, falls occurred indoors, at home, and whilst engaged in nonhazardous ambulation. Adults with CP experienced adverse falls consequences, lower limb injuries predominant (37%), and descriptions of fear, embarrassment, powerlessness, and isolation. Discussion. Adults with CP may experience injurious falls. Further investigation into the impact of falls on health-related quality of life and effective remediation strategies is warranted to provide comprehensive falls prevention programs for this population.