A community based falls prevention service reduced the rate of falls among older people by 55%, finds a study published on bmj.com 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 older people. 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 results showed 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.