The Winchester falls project: a randomised controlled trial of secondary prevention of falls in older people

Spice, Claire L., Morotti, Wendy, George, Steve, Dent, Thomas H.S., Rose, Jim, Harris, Scott and Gordon, Christopher J. (2008) The Winchester falls project: a randomised controlled trial of secondary prevention of falls in older people Age and Ageing, 38, (1), pp. 33-40. (doi:10.1093/ageing/afn192). (PMID:18829689).


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Background: the mortality and morbidity of falls in older people is significant, with recurrent fallers being at an increased
risk. The most effective way to reduce falls in this group is not clear.

Objective: to determine the effectiveness of two interventions, one based in primary care and the other in secondary care, at
preventing further falls in recurrent fallers.

Design: cluster randomised controlled trial.

Participants: sixty-five years or over, living in the community, two or more falls in the previous year and not presenting to an
emergency department with index fall.

Setting: Mid Hampshire, UK.

Intervention: eighteen general practices were randomly allocated to one of three groups. The primary care group was assessed by nurses in the community, using a risk factor review and subsequent targeted referral to other professionals. The secondary care group received a multi-disciplinary assessment in a day hospital followed by identified appropriate interventions. The control group received usual care. Follow-up was for 1 year.

Results: five hundred and five participants were recruited. Follow-up was completed in 83% (421/505). The proportion of
participants who fell again was significantly lower in the secondary care group (75%, 158/210) compared to the control group [84%, 133/159, adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.52 (95% CI 0.35–0.79) P = 0.002]. The primary care group showed similar results to the control group [87%, 118/136, adjusted OR 1.17 (95% CI 0.57–2.37) P = 0.673].

Conclusion: a structured multi-disciplinary assessment of recurrent fallers significantly reduced the number experiencing
further falls, but a community-based nurse-led assessment with targeted referral to other professionals did not.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/ageing/afn192
ISSNs: 0002-0729 (print)
Keywords: elderly, older people, prevention, randomised controlled trial, recurrent falls
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
ePrint ID: 62142
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2009
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:30
Further Information:Google Scholar

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