Differential Diagnoses of Older patient’s fall : Mnemonic

Mnemonic: CATASTROPHE

1. Caregiver and housing (information on the circumstances of present fall and falls history)

2. Alcohol (including withdrawal)

3. Treatment (medications, recently added or stopped, compliance)

4. Affect (depression or lack of initiative)

5. Syncope (any episode of fainting)

6. Teetering (dizziness)

7. Recent illness

8. Ocular problems

9. Pain with mobility (as the reason for falls in chronic joint pain or as the result and proof of repeated falls)

10. Hearing (necessary to avoid hazards)

11. Environmental hazards (rags, steps, etc.)

Source: Samaras N, Chevalley T, Samaras D, Gold G. Older patients in the emergency department: a review. Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Sep;56(3):261-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2010.04.015. PMID: 20619500.


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