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[O. Fr. faindre, to feign] 1. To feel weak as though about to lose consciousness. 2. Weak. 3. Loss of consciousness resulting from vasovagal or vasodepressor mechanisms. SEE: syncope.


1. A sensation of impending loss of consciousness. SYN: presyncope. 2. A sensation of weakness due to lack of food.


(fer-nŭs) Equity. Equality.


Pert. to religious beliefs or to the administration of services provided under the auspices of an organized religious group.


(fal′kāt″) [falx] Sickle-shaped.


(fal′sēz″) Pl. of falx.


(fal′sĭ-form″) [falx + -form] Sickle-shaped.


1. To drop or plunge from a height. 2. An unexplained event that results in the patient’s inadvertently coming to rest on the floor, ground, or lower level, e.g., into a chair.

 INCIDENCE: Falls occur frequently in hospitalized patients: the rate of reported falls is from 1.3 to 8.9 per 1000 occupied bed/days. About 35% of people living in the community who are 65 years or older fall each year. By age 80, that figure increases to 50%. Women are somewhat more likely to fall than men and are also more likely to sustain significant injuries after a fall.

 CAUSES: It is important for health care providers to search for the cause or causes of the fall. The single biggest predictor of a fall is a history of falls. Other proven risk factors for falls include reduced visual acuity and hearing, vestibular dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy, and musculoskeletal disorders, e.g., physical weakness, inability to get up from a chair without using one’s arms, Parkinson disease, a history of stroke, postural hypotension, increased body sway when standing, inability to perform a tandem walk, the use of medicines, e.g., antihypertensives, antidepressants, sedatives, or benzodiazepines, daily use of four or more prescription drugs, inability to transfer from bed or chair to bathtub or toilet, and environmental hazards.

 Hazards in the home that increase the chances of falling are improper footwear, scatter rugs that are not secure or slip-resistant, uneven flooring, out-of-the-way light switches or electrical outlets, cluttered access to paths through a room or entrance, poorly lighted steps and stairways, lack of handrails along the entire length of a stairway, and tubs and showers that are not fitted with sturdy grab bars and have slippery floors.

 SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: Most falls produce no injuries, but between 30% and 50% of falls cause lacerations, abrasions, or more serious bodily harm, including fractures, head trauma (with brain injury), or blunt trauma to the chest abdomen, or pelvis. ...

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