A randomized controlled trial of a multifactorial falls prevention intervention for older fallers presenting to emergency departments
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Objectives: To investigate the effect of a referral-based targeted multifactorial falls prevention intervention on the occurrence of recurrent falls and injuries in older people presenting to an emergency department (ED) after a fall and discharged directly home from the ED. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Assessors of outcomes were unaware of group allocation. Setting: Seven EDs in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Participants: Inclusion criteria were community dwelling, aged 60 and older, presenting to an ED after a fall, and discharged directly home. Exclusion criteria were unable to follow simple instructions or walk independently. INTERVENTION: Targeted referrals to existing community services and health promotion recommendations, based on the falls risk factors found in a baseline assessment. Measurements: Primary outcome measures were falls and resultant injuries occurring over the 12-month follow-up period. Falls and injury data were collected using falls calendars supported by medical record reviews. Results: Three hundred sixty-one participants were randomized to the standard care group and 351 to the intervention group. No significant difference was found between the two groups over the 12-month follow-up period in number of fallers (relative risk (RR)=1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.95-1.31] or number of participants sustaining an injury from a fall (RR=1.06, 95% CI=0.86-1.29). Conclusion: This study does not support the use of a referral-based targeted multifactorial intervention program to reduce subsequent falls or fall injuries in older people who present to an ED after a fall. © 2010, The American Geriatrics Society.
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