Introduction: The fear of falling has a high prevalence in the community, and intervention programs for this condition are scarce, making it is necessary to strengthen this type of therapy in order to prevent adverse consequences in the elderly population.
Objective: To establish the effectiveness of three intervention programs in reducing the fear of falling and increasing functionality in elderly people in the city of Manizales.
Participants and methods: A randomised trial was conducted on ambulatory elderly patients with fear of falling and functional limitation of the city of Manizales. A total of 125 individuals were randomised to one of three interventions: Tai Chi (TCh), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and postural control (CP) exercises. The primary outcomes were: fear of falling (evaluated by the Falls Efficacy Scale [FES-I]), and functionality using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The data was collected before initiating the interventions and after the 8 weeks intervention.
Results: An intention-to-treat analysis was conducted on 119 elderly patients. The three interventions reduced the fear of falling and increased physical performance, with no significant differences observed between them (P=.13). As regards gait speed, differences were only found between the pre- and post-intervention with CP (P<.001).
Conclusions: The results suggest that the TCh, CBT and CP interventions helped the elderly to reduce their fear of falling. Only CP demonstrated an improvement in the speed of walking at the end of the eight weeks of intervention (identifier NCT03211429).
Keywords: Colombia; Ensayo clínico aleatorizado; Fear of falling; Randomised controlled trial; Temor a caer.
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