Evidence-based clinical practice in falls prevention: a randomised controlled trial of a falls prevention service

Aust Health Rev. 2003;26(3):88-97. doi: 10.1071/ah030088.


Aims: Evidence-based guidelines recommend a range of treatments for falls and injury prevention. We undertook a randomised trial of a falls prevention service to screen for falls risk factors and recommend to GPs an evidenced base prescription for falls prevention.

Methods: All patients who presented with a fall to the Emergency Department at Flinders Medical Centre over a 22-week period were considered for the study. We excluded patients with dementia, resident in high care or those transferred to other hospitals and outside our catchment area. Of those who consented, we randomised patients between usual care or to an intervention consisting of a falls risk assessment and writing of an evidence-based prescription faxed to their GP for action. Patients were followed for six months and uptake of advice and fall rates were monitored.

Results: Four hundred and fifty patients presented with a fall-related attendance and of these 261 patients were eligible for inclusion in the trial. Of these 261 patients, 140 consented and were enrolled in the trial. Over the six months patients in the intervention group were more likely to uptake preventative advice (OR=12.3; 95%CI=4.2-35.9). We were unable to show a reduction in falls (OR= 1.7; 95%CI=0.7-4.4).

Conclusions: A patient centered evidence-based approach is feasible and effective in increasing uptake of falls prevention advice. Long term compliance with advice needs further exploration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment*
  • South Australia / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires