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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Sep;52(9):1487-94.

The effectiveness of a community-based program for reducing the incidence of falls in the elderly: a randomized trial.

Author information

  • 1School of Occupation and Leisure Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. L.Clemson@fhs.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To test whether Stepping On, a multifaceted community-based program using a small-group learning environment, is effective in reducing falls in at-risk people living at home.

DESIGN:

A randomized trial with subjects followed for 14 months.

SETTING:

The interventions were conducted in community venues, with a follow-up home visit.

PARTICIPANTS:

Three hundred ten community residents aged 70 and older who had had a fall in the previous 12 months or were concerned about falling.

INTERVENTION:

The Stepping On program aims to improve fall self-efficacy, encourage behavioral change, and reduce falls. Key aspects of the program are improving lower-limb balance and strength, improving home and community environmental and behavioral safety, encouraging regular visual screening, making adaptations to low vision, and encouraging medication review. Two-hour sessions were conducted weekly for 7 weeks, with a follow-up occupational therapy home visit.

MEASUREMENTS:

The primary outcome measure was falls, ascertained using a monthly calendar mailed by each participant.

RESULTS:

The intervention group experienced a 31% reduction in falls (relative risk (RR)=0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.50-0.96; P=.025). This was a clinically meaningful result demonstrating that the Stepping On program was effective for community-residing elderly people. Secondary analysis of subgroups showed that it was particularly effective for men (n=80; RR=0.32, 95% CI=0.17-0.59).

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study renew attention to the idea that cognitive-behavioral learning in a small-group environment can reduce falls. Stepping On offers a successful fall-prevention option.

Copyright 2004 American Geriatrics Society

PMID:
15341550
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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