Community program halves fall rate among older people

May 11, 2010

A community based falls prevention service reduced the rate of falls among older people by 55%, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal today.

The service also led to increased levels of activities of daily living and reduced fear of falling.

Falls are a common and serious problem in . Many people who fall call an emergency ambulance, but are not transported to hospital and are not referred to a falls prevention service. Yet they remain at high risk of falling again.

So a team of researchers in Nottingham set out to evaluate whether falls could be reduced in this high risk group by a community falls prevention service.

The study involved 204 adults aged more than 60 living at home or in residential care who had fallen and called an emergency ambulance but were not taken to hospital.

Participants were given a thorough assessment at the start of the study and then randomly split into two groups. The intervention group received support from community fall teams including strength and balance training, a home hazards assessment and adaptations for the home, and practice in getting up from the floor. They also attended regular group sessions on fall prevention for further strength training and advice.

The control group received no such support and were advised to use existing social and medical services as usual.

All participants completed monthly falls diaries to monitor the rate of falls over 12 months.

The results show a 55% reduction in the rate of falls over the study period (3.5 falls per year in the intervention group compared with 7.7 falls per year in the control group). Results were similar when adjusted for factors such as sex, age, medication use, previous falls and residential status.

The intervention group were also better able to carry out usual daily activities and were less fearful of falling than the control group.

The number of participants admitted to hospital with a fracture, and the number of times an emergency ambulance was called because of a fall were also lower in the intervention group.

The authors believe this reduction to be clinically important and they call for a study of the economic consequences of these findings to be conducted.

In an accompanying editorial, Lindy Clemson, Associate Professor in Ageing at the University of Sydney, says that, although such interventions are successful in trial settings, their uptake in practice has been remarkably slow and inconsistent. She concludes: "Further studies are needed to assess the barriers and facilitators to implementing falls prevention programmes in the community, and how to make these programmes sustainable."

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exercise reduces falls in older people

Apr 15, 2009

Exercise programmes are an effective option for preventing falls among older people living in the community. There is less evidence at present for the effectiveness of other interventions, such as home safety improvements ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.