Falls in people post-Guillain-Barré syndrome in the United Kingdom: A national cross-sectional survey of community based adults
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has several enduring effects that can lead to further harm and/or lower quality of life. These effects include falling and body pain, neither of which have been fully explored. This study aims to examine the risk factors associated with falling and potential causes of body pain in a post-GBS population. A cross-sectional survey of 216 participants was conducted using an electronic questionnaire that included. Self-report measures for: overall health, balance, anxiety and depression levels, body pain and demographics related to GBS experience and falls. A large proportion of individuals post-GBS experience ongoing problems beyond those expected with ageing. Comparative tests indicated that people reporting falls in the previous 12 months had: poorer levels of mobility, poorer F-scores, higher levels of body pain, poorer balance, poorer anxiety and depression scores and higher levels of fatigue. Gender did not appear to contribute to falls. Injuries following falls were associated with a lack of physiotherapy postdischarge and time since GBS. In a regression analysis of the identified and expected key variables, age and body pain statistically predicted falls. In over a quarter of cases reported here, respondents did not receive community physiotherapy following hospital discharge. In the midst and aftermath of COVID-19, provision of rehabilitation needs to be recalibrated, not just for COVID patients, but the wider community with ongoing needs. Issues around well-being and quality of life in the post-GBS community also need further consideration.