Effectiveness of a multifactorial intervention program to reduce falls incidence among community-living older adults: a randomized controlled trial

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Oct;93(10):1677-84. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.03.035. Epub 2012 May 15.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a multifactorial intervention program to prevent falls among older adults as compared with a brief intervention.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Eleven health centers located in Córdoba, Spain.

Participants: People over 70 years old (N=404), who are residents in the community.

Interventions: The centers were randomized to either 1 of the 2 groups: intervention group (IG), of a multifactorial nature (individual advice, information leaflet, physical exercise workshop, and home visits), or control group (CG) (brief individual advice and information leaflet).

Main outcome measures: Fall rates and time until the fall; estimates of the relative and absolute risk of falls; and survival analysis and Cox regression.

Results: Of the patients recruited, 133 were in the IG and 271 were in the CG. Around 33% in the IG and 30.25% in the CG had had a fall in the previous year (P=.56). After 12 months, the fall incidence rate was 17.29% in the IG and 23.61% in the CG (relative risk=0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-1.12; P=.146). Around 60% of the IG patients said they had increased the time spent on physical activity. In the IG, the incidence of falls at home was 27.5% compared with 49.3% in the CG (P=.04). Being a woman (odds ratio [OR]=1.62; 95% CI, 1.03-2.54), having a history of falls (OR=1.15; 95% CI, 1.05-1.26), suffering acute health problems (OR=2.19; 95% CI, 1.09-4.40), and doing moderate exercise (OR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.08-3.38) were found as factors associated with a higher risk of falls.

Conclusions: Although the reduction of falls in the IG was nearly halved, and after the intervention there was a significant reduction in the number of falls at these patients' homes, the multifactorial intervention program is no more effective than the brief intervention to reduce the overall risk of falls.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01279525.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01279525