A protocol for evidence-based targeting and evaluation of statewide strategies for preventing falls among community-dwelling older people in Victoria, Australia
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Background Falls are a significant threat to the safety, health and independence of older citizens. Despite the now substantial evidence about effective falls prevention interventions, translation into falls reductions has not yet been fully realised. While the hip fracture rate is decreasing, the number and rate of fall-related hospital admissions among older people is increasing. The challenge now is to deliver the most effective interventions efficiently at a population level, and for these interventions to be taken up by older people. Objective To support the development, and evaluation of, effective falls prevention policy and practice in the state of Victoria, Australia. Methods The RE-AIM model (Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance) was used to identify strategies for an effective programme. Research objectives were developed to support the strategies. These include: (1) identification of subgroups of older people most frequently admitted to hospital for falls; (2) examining the acceptability of established falls interventions; (3) identification of factors that encourage and support relevant lifestyle changes; (4) identifying opportunities to incorporate confirmed interventions in existing programmes and services; (5) developing guidelines for sustainability. The research results will subsequently guide strategy details for the falls prevention plan. RE-AIM will provide the framework for the evaluation structure. Outcome measures Measures to monitor the implementation of the selected interventions will be determined for each intervention, based on the five key factors of the RE-AIM model. The overall effect of the falls prevention plan will be monitored by time series analysis of fall-related hospital admission rates for community-dwelling older people.
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