Background: Falls and related injuries are a major public health concern in elderly people. Multifactorial interventions may result in significant reduction in falls but their effectiveness in prevention of fall-induced injuries at centre-based falls clinics is unclear. This study assessed the effectiveness of the multifactorial Chaos Clinic Falls Prevention Programme on rate of falls and related injuries of home-dwelling older adults.
Methods: This study was a pragmatic, randomised controlled trial concentrating on high risk individuals and their individual risk factors of falling. Home-dwelling elderly people aged 70 years or more were recruited to the Chaos falls clinics in the cities of Lappeenranta and Tampere in Finland between January 2005 and June 2009. 1314 participants with high-risk for falling and fall-induced injuries and fractures were randomised into intervention group (n=661) and control group (n=653). A multifactorial, individualized 12-month falls prevention programme concentrating on strength and balance training, medical review and referrals, medication review, proper nutrition (calcium, vitamin D), and home hazard assessment and modification was carried out in the intervention group. The main outcome measures were rates of falls, fallers, and fall-induced injuries.
Results: During the one-year follow-up, 608 falls occurred in the intervention group and 825 falls in the control group. The rate of falls was significantly lower in the intervention group (95 falls per 100 person-years) than in the controls (131 falls per 100 person-years), the incidence rate ratio (IRR) being 0.72 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61-0.86, p<0.001, NNT 3). In the intervention group 296 participants fell at least once. In the controls the corresponding number was 349. The hazard ratio (HR) of fallers in the intervention group compared with the control group was 0.78 (95% CI 0.67-0.91, p=0.001, NNT 6). The number of fall-induced injuries in the intervention group was 351 with the corresponding rate (per 100 person-years) of 55. In the control group, these figures were higher, 468 and 75. The IRR of fall-induced injuries in the intervention group compared with the control group was 0.74 (95% CI 0.61-0.89, p=0.002, NNT 5).
Conclusions: The multifactorial Chaos Clinic Falls Prevention Programme is effective in preventing falls of older adults. The programme reduces the rate of falls and related injuries by almost 30%.
Keywords: Aged; Effectiveness; Fall-induced injuries; Falls; Fractures; Older adults; Osteoporosis; Prevention; Randomised controlled trial.
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