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Phys Ther. 2005 May;85(5):394-403.

Changes in physical therapy providers' use of fall prevention strategies following a multicomponent behavioral change intervention.

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  • 1University of Alabama at Birmingham, VAMC GRECC 11-G Room 8225, 1530 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35294-0001, USA.



An abundance of evidence suggests that interventions targeting fall risk factors are effective; however, it remains unknown whether, or to what extent, this body of evidence has affected the clinical practice of physical therapy providers. The purposes of this study were: (1) to describe knowledge of, and attitudes toward, fall risk factors and fall reduction strategies; (2) to assess self-reported use of fall reduction strategies with patients; and (3) to identify factors associated with increased use of fall reduction strategies with patients among physical therapy providers exposed to a behavioral change strategy.


A cross-sectional survey of physical therapy providers from hospital-based and freestanding outpatient physical therapy facilities throughout north-central Connecticut was conducted between October 2002 and April 2003. The participants were 94 physical therapy providers who had been exposed to the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention (CCFP) behavioral change effort. The CCFP program uses multicomponent professional behavioral change strategies to embed fall risk factor assessment and management, based on evidence from randomized controlled trials, into the clinical care of older patients. A telephone questionnaire--focusing on fall risk factor knowledge and attitudes and self-reported fall risk factor assessment and management practices before and after exposure to the CCFP efforts--was administered to consenting physical therapy providers.


Environmental hazards and gait and balance deficits were named as fall risk factors by 86 (91%) and 73 (78%) participants, respectively. All of the targeted risk factors were mentioned by at least 30% of the participants. Sixty-four participants (68%) reported increased fall reduction practice behaviors. The area of multiple medications was noted most frequently, with 77 participants (82%) noting new practices related to medication use. Only knowledge of fall risk factors and pre-CCFP behaviors were associated with increased fall reduction practices.


Physical therapy providers reported an increase in practice behaviors in response to the multicomponent behavioral change strategy. Knowledge of fall risk factors was associated with increased fall reduction practice behaviors, most likely due to the focused nature of the education strategy.

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