Adherence to and efficacy of home exercise programs to prevent falls: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of exercise program characteristics

Prev Med. 2012 Oct;55(4):262-275. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Objective: To determine whether adherence to home exercise interventions for the prevention of falls in older adults relates to home exercise program characteristics and intervention efficacy.

Methods: In Australia (2011) a systematic literature search of four databases was conducted. Randomized controlled trials were included. Random-effects meta-analysis of participant adherence rates was performed. Meta-regression analyses were used to determine the relationship between intervention program characteristics, intervention efficacy and adherence.

Results: Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. The pooled estimate of participants who were fully adherent was 21% (95% Confidence Interval: 15%-29%, range: 0%-68%). Higher levels of full adherence were found in interventions containing balance or walking exercise, moderate home visit support, physiotherapist led delivery and no flexibility training. Higher levels of partial adherence were found in interventions containing home visit or telephone support, a participant health service recruitment approach and no group exercise training. Neither full nor partial adherence to prescribed home exercise program dosages was associated with intervention efficacy.

Conclusion: Adherence to home exercise for the prevention of falls in older adults is low and may be affected by home exercise program characteristics. There is an absence of evidence to link adherence to intervention efficacy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Regression Analysis