Objectives: To evaluate the long-term effects of a multifactorial fall prevention programme on the incidence of falls requiring medical treatment.
Study design: A randomized controlled trial.
Methods: Five hundred and ninety-one community-dwelling elderly people (> or = 65 years) living in the town of Pori, Finland with at least one fall during the previous 12 months were randomized into an intervention group (n=293) and a control group (n=298). Subjects in the intervention group participated in a multifactorial 12-month fall prevention programme. This study evaluated the incidence of falls requiring medical treatment during the 3-year follow-up period.
Results: The intervention did not significantly reduce the incidence of falls requiring medical treatment during the 3-year follow-up period [incidence rate ratio (IRR) for the intervention group compared with the control group 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63-1.21]. The number of falls requiring medical treatment was lower in the intervention group (n=32) compared with the control group (n=50) (IRR 0.65, 95%CI 0.40-1.07) during the second year of follow-up, but this was not found during the first year (48 and 48 falls, respectively; IRR 1.04, 95%CI 0.64-1.69) or the third year (44 and 48 falls, respectively; IRR 0.94, 95%CI 0.58-1.53) of follow-up.
Conclusions: The multifactorial fall prevention programme did not decrease the incidence of falls requiring medical treatment of fall-prone elderly people during the 3-year follow-up period. However, some positive effect was found during the second year of follow-up (immediately after the 12-month intervention).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00247546.