Affiliations: [a] Center for Physiotherapy Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor, Puncak Alam Campus, Selangor, Malaysia
| [b] Fakulti Sains Kesihatan, UiTM Cawangan Pulau Pinang Kampus Bertam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
| [c] Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Science, Bournemouth University, Dorset, UK
.Corresponding author: Maria Justine, PhD, Centre for Physiotherapy Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor, 42300 Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel.: +603 3258 4365; Fax: +603 3258 4599; E-mail: [email protected]. ORCID: 0000-0002-2412-8653.
Abstract: INTRODUCTION:Knowledge of the risk factors for falls is necessary for the prevention of falls in older adults. This study aimed to identify the levels of knowledge of the risk factors of falls among physiotherapy students in Malaysia. METHODS:A total of 239 physiotherapy students from seven institutions completed a two-section questionnaire about their sociodemographic information and knowledge regarding risk factors for falls (balance/gait disorders, muscle weakness, environmental hazards, postural hypotension, sensory/perceptive deceptive, multiple medications, impaired cognitive and foot/footwear problems) that were answered on a Likert scale ranging from “Not very important (1)” to “Very important (5)”. RESULTS:Analysis indicated that only two factors scored means of > 4, namely balance/gait disorders and muscle weakness, with 82.8% and 65.7% responded “very important”, respectively. The factors with the lowest means were postural hypotension (3.41±1.40) and multiple medications (2.97±1.21), in which the majority of the participants responded as “somewhat unimportant” or “moderately important. Students studying full-time and those with no working experience were significantly better than part-time students and those with working experience, respectively, in the level of knowledge of risk factors of falls (Both p < 0.05). CONCLUSION:This study suggests that physiotherapy students in Malaysia may have insufficient knowledge about the risk factors of falls as all factors should be deemed very important. The higher education providers should design a comprehensive curriculum considering all factors, especially postural hypotension and multiple medications.
Keywords: Falls, Malaysia, physiotherapy, prevention strategies