Fall and injury prevention in older people living in residential care facilities. A cluster randomized trial

Ann Intern Med. 2002 May 21;136(10):733-41. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-10-200205210-00008.


Background: Falls and resulting injuries are particularly common in older people living in residential care facilities, but knowledge about the prevention of falls is limited.

Objective: To investigate whether a multifactorial intervention program would reduce falls and fall-related injuries.

Design: A cluster randomized, controlled, nonblinded trial.

Setting: 9 residential care facilities located in a northern Swedish city.

Patients: 439 residents 65 years of age or older.

Intervention: An 11-week multidisciplinary program that included both general and resident-specific, tailored strategies. The strategies comprised educating staff, modifying the environment, implementing exercise programs, supplying and repairing aids, reviewing drug regimens, providing free hip protectors, having post-fall problem-solving conferences, and guiding staff.

Measurements: The primary outcomes were the number of residents sustaining a fall, the number of falls, and the time to occurrence of the first fall. A secondary outcome was the number of injuries resulting from falls.

Results: During the 34-week follow-up period, 82 residents (44%) in the intervention program sustained a fall compared with 109 residents (56%) in the control group (risk ratio, 0.78 [95% CI, 0.64 to 0.96]). The adjusted odds ratio was 0.49 (CI, 0.37 to 0.65), and the adjusted incidence rate ratio of falls was 0.60 (CI, 0.50 to 0.73). Each of 3 residents in the intervention group and 12 in the control group had 1 femoral fracture (adjusted odds ratio, 0.23 [CI, 0.06 to 0.94]). Clustering was considered in all regression models.

Conclusion: An interdisciplinary and multifactorial prevention program targeting residents, staff, and the environment may reduce falls and femoral fractures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Allied Health Personnel / education
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Exercise
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Homes for the Aged / standards*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Protective Devices
  • Self-Help Devices / supply & distribution
  • Sweden