Multicentre, Randomised Controlled Trial of PDSAFE, a Physiotherapist-Delivered Fall Prevention Programme for People With Parkinson's

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2019 Jul;90(7):774-782. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2018-319448. Epub 2019 Apr 3.


Objective: To estimate the effect of a physiotherapist-delivered fall prevention programme for people with Parkinson's (PwP).

Methods: People at risk of falls with confirmed Parkinson's were recruited to this multicentre, pragmatic, investigator blind, individually randomised controlled trial with prespecified subgroup analyses. 474 PwP (Hoehn and Yahr 1-4) were randomised: 238 allocated to a physiotherapy programme and 236 to control. All participants had routine care; the control group received a DVD about Parkinson's and single advice session at trial completion. The intervention group (PDSAFE) had an individually tailored, progressive home-based fall avoidance strategy training programme with balance and strengthening exercises. The primary outcome was risk of repeat falling, collected by self-report monthly diaries, 0-6 months after randomisation. Secondary outcomes included Mini-BESTest for balance, chair stand test, falls efficacy, freezing of gait, health-related quality of life (EuroQol EQ-5D), Geriatric Depression Scale, Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire, fractures and rate of near falling.

Results: Average age is 72 years and 266 (56%) were men. By 6 months, 116 (55%) of the control group and 125 (61.5%) of the intervention group reported repeat falls (controlled OR 1.21, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.98, p=0.447). Secondary subgroup analyses suggested a different response to the intervention between moderate and severe disease severity groups. Balance, falls efficacy and chair stand time improved with near falls reduced in the intervention arm.

Conclusion: PDSAFE did not reduce falling in this pragmatic trial of PwP. Other functional tasks improved and reduced fall rates were apparent among those with moderate disease.

Trial registration number: ISRCTN48152791.

Keywords: Cognition; Disease severity; Fall prevention; Freezing of gait; Parkinson's; Physiotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postural Balance
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training / methods