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J Med Assoc Thai. 2002 Feb;85(2):215-22.

Strategy to prevent falls in the Thai elderly: a controlled study integrated health research program for the Thai elderly.

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  • 1Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Instability or falls are one of the important warning symptoms of underlying serious illness among the elderly, so many studies have concentrated on the risk factors for falls. However, a study involving a strategic method to reduce the incidence of falls is the next step and is the main objective of this study. 1,043 elderly subjects living in the urban area around Siriraj Hospital Medical School, Bangkok, were recruited, 585 of them were allocated to the study group and 458 subjects to the control group. A leaflet containing information on important risk factors of falls within their community was enclosed with a follow-up postcard in the study group only. In addition, this particular group was allowed free access to the geriatric clinic at Siriraj Hospital if there was any health problem. All of them received a postcard asking about any falls which had occurred over the previous 2 months on 6 occasions and a telephone call if the postcards were not returned to the team. The percentage of elderly who kept in contact was 92.5 per cent, 90.6 per cent, 89.3 per cent, 89.2 per cent, 86.2 per cent and 85.45 per cent for the first to final follow-up respectively. After one year of longitudinal study, the overall incidence of falls was 6.6 per cent in the study group and 10.1 per cent in the control group. The incidence of falls began to show a statistically significant difference between the two groups at the fourth and sixth episodes of follow-up (P = 0.002 and 0.004). The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis also revealed a statistically significant difference in the incidence of falls between the two groups (P =0.01). In conclusion, the incidence of falls was significantly reduced in the study group and a repeated campaign to alert the elderly to the risk of falling is a cost-effective way of fall prevention among the healthy elderly in the community.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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