The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

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Falls in Older Adults

Falls in Older Adults

University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
Paul Mulhausen, MPH
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
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CME available CME credits available
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This product is part of the GeriaSims series of interactive patient care simulations. In this simulation, learners ask history questions, perform virtual physical exams, order tests, consult with specialists and other health care professionals. They will make decisions about diagnosis, treatment, and other issues in the care of an elderly patient who has fallen and/or is vulnerable to falls, and receive feedback about all actions and decisions. Learners may also ask questions of a simulated mentor to access didactic information about functional assessment. Depending on the learner's level of experience and interest, the simulation takes one to two hours to complete.

GeriaSims interactive patient care simulations are available online, both to accredited medical education institutions for use with students, residents, and fellows. For more information about the GeriaSims series, go to


Educational objectives: 

GeriaSims are interactive experiences during which the learner diagnoses and treats simulated patients. The simulations are designed to provide interactive learning experiences about geriatric syndromes and other issues that are often encountered in the primary care of elderly patients. Learners will be able to improve their overall knowledge about managing common geriatric syndromes; understand the unique health care needs of older patients, differences in the management of common clinical conditions, and how physiologic changes associated with aging impact management. They will develop a working knowledge of important legal and ethical issues associated with end-of-life care; and understand and apply principles of the multi-disciplinary geriatric assessment.

The learning objectives of this particular simulation are:

  1. Take a patient history and perform a physical exam specific to falls.
  2. Know when and how to conduct simple gait and balance assessments.
  3. Identify intrinsic and extrinsic factors contributing to a fall, or that may increase future risk of falling.
  4. Formulate a treatment plan that minimizes the risk of future falls and morbidity from falls, while maximizing the patient's independence and quality of life.
  5. Recognize when to call on other practitioners in evaluating the patient and formulating a treatment or management plan.
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

These simulations were developed using a software template created by the University of Iowa. They are used in primary care residency programs and rotations for medical students in the clinical years at the University of Iowa, and also offered online for CME credit.

To use GeriaSims, a 256K or faster DSL, cable modem, LAN/Intranet, or other broadband Internet connection; Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, Netscape 8.0 or higher, Firefox 1.0 or higher, Mozilla 1.7.5 or higher, or Safari 1.3 or higher web browser, with Java script enabled; version 8 or later of the Flash Player; and Adobe Reader 5 or later are required. A sound card and speakers are recommended. GeriaSims are best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768, but can be viewed at 800 x 600.

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Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
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Suggested Citation:
Paul Mulhausen. Falls in Older Adults. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2009 Available from:


Submitted by pardid01 on

This Geriasims is one of the best in the series. It definitely teaches what it is designed to teach and does it in a very engaging and interesting way! I really enjoyed learning this topic in this way.

Submitted by sskanthan on

Good presentation,

writing is too small