Evaluation of the falls telephone: an automated system for enduring assessment of falls

M.A. van der Marck, S. Overeem, P.C.M. Klok, B.R. Bloem, M. Munneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the reliability and user experiences of an automated telephone system to monitor falls during a prolonged period of time.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Four neurological outpatient clinics in the Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred nineteen community-dwelling people with Parkinson's disease without dementia, because falls are common in this population.

MEASUREMENTS: Clinical and demographic data were obtained. The Falls Telephone is a computerized telephone system through which participants can enter the number of falls during a particular period. During a follow-up of 1 to 40 weekly calls, 2,465 calls were made. In total, 173 no-fall entries and 115 fall entries were verified using personal telephone interviews. User experiences were evaluated in 90 of the 119 participants using structured telephone interviews.

RESULTS: All no-fall entries and 78% of fall entries were confirmed to be correct. Sensitivity to detect falls was 100%, and specificity was 87%. Users regarded the Falls Telephone as a convenient tool to monitor falls.

CONCLUSION: The Falls Telephone is a convenient and reliable instrument to monitor falls. The automated system has high specificity, obviating the need for time-consuming personal follow-up calls in the majority of nonfallers. As such, the Falls Telephone lends itself well to data collection in large trials with prolonged follow-up in participants with Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-344
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidental Falls
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Management Information Systems
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Telephone
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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