Perceptions of health professionals about effective practice in falls prevention

Disabil Rehabil. 2009;31(24):2005-12. doi: 10.3109/09638280902874121.


Purpose: Falls prevention is a practice context with a rapidly expanding evidence-base. However, little is known about the implementation of this evidence into practice by health professionals. This study aimed to explore how falls prevention evidence is applied in practice internationally by health professionals working in the homes of older people, and to identify the perceived barriers and effective strategies in implementing falls prevention programs.

Method: A qualitative study design using a grounded theory approach was selected. Data were collected via focus groups or individual, semi-structured interviews with 50 health professionals from Australia, the UK and Canada. All participants visited older people in their homes as part of their usual practice. Data analysis used the constant comparative method.

Results: Three themes emerged from the data: (i) client experiences of falls prevention, (ii) professional skills and clinical reasoning in falls prevention and (iii) service issues in falls prevention.

Conclusions: The complexity of delivering an evidence-based, multi-disciplinary falls prevention intervention that is acceptable to clients was described by participants. Challenges were identified in applying the evidence according to the resources and experience of health professionals in the systems within which they work.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Assessment
  • United Kingdom