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.
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