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1.  Exercise in preventing falls and fall related injuries in older people: a review of randomised controlled trials 
Objective—To assess the effectiveness of exercise programmes in preventing falls (and/or lowering the risk of falls and fall related injuries) in older people.
Design—A review of controlled clinical trials designed with the aim of lowering the risk of falling and/or fall injuries through an exercise only intervention or an intervention that included an exercise component
Main outcome measures—Falls, fall related injuries, time between falls, costs, cost effectiveness.
Subjects—A total of 4933 men and women aged 60 years and older.
Results—Eleven trials meeting the criteria for inclusion were reviewed. Eight of these trials had separate exercise interventions, and three used interventions with an exercise programme component. Five trials showed a significant reduction in the rate of falls or the risk of falling in the intervention group.
Conclusions—Exercise is effective in lowering falls risk in selected groups and should form part of falls prevention programmes. Lowering fall related injuries will reduce health care costs but there is little available information on the costs associated with programme replication or the cost effectiveness of exercise programmes aimed at preventing falls in older people.
Key Words: exercise; elderly; falls; cost effectiveness
doi:10.1136/bjsm.34.1.7
PMCID: PMC1724164  PMID: 10690444
2.  Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective
To assess the effectiveness of behavioural interventions for the treatment and management of urinary incontinence (UI) in community-dwelling seniors.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Urinary incontinence defined as “the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine” was identified as 1 of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home. Urinary incontinence is a health problem that affects a substantial proportion of Ontario’s community-dwelling seniors (and indirectly affects caregivers), impacting their health, functioning, well-being and quality of life. Based on Canadian studies, prevalence estimates range from 9% to 30% for senior men and nearly double from 19% to 55% for senior women. The direct and indirect costs associated with UI are substantial. It is estimated that the total annual costs in Canada are $1.5 billion (Cdn), and that each year a senior living at home will spend $1,000 to $1,500 on incontinence supplies.
Interventions to treat and manage UI can be classified into broad categories which include lifestyle modification, behavioural techniques, medications, devices (e.g., continence pessaries), surgical interventions and adjunctive measures (e.g., absorbent products).
The focus of this review is behavioural interventions, since they are commonly the first line of treatment considered in seniors given that they are the least invasive options with no reported side effects, do not limit future treatment options, and can be applied in combination with other therapies. In addition, many seniors would not be ideal candidates for other types of interventions involving more risk, such as surgical measures.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Description of Technology/Therapy
Behavioural interventions can be divided into 2 categories according to the target population: caregiver-dependent techniques and patient-directed techniques. Caregiver-dependent techniques (also known as toileting assistance) are targeted at medically complex, frail individuals living at home with the assistance of a caregiver, who tends to be a family member. These seniors may also have cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits. A health care professional trains the senior’s caregiver to deliver an intervention such as prompted voiding, habit retraining, or timed voiding. The health care professional who trains the caregiver is commonly a nurse or a nurse with advanced training in the management of UI, such as a nurse continence advisor (NCA) or a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
The second category of behavioural interventions consists of patient-directed techniques targeted towards mobile, motivated seniors. Seniors in this population are cognitively able, free from any major physical deficits, and motivated to regain and/or improve their continence. A nurse or a nurse with advanced training in UI management, such as an NCA or CNS, delivers the patient-directed techniques. These are often provided as multicomponent interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), education on bladder control strategies, and self-monitoring. Pelvic floor muscle training, defined as a program of repeated pelvic floor muscle contractions taught and supervised by a health care professional, may be employed as part of a multicomponent intervention or in isolation.
Education is a large component of both caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions, and patient and/or caregiver involvement as well as continued practice strongly affect the success of treatment. Incontinence products, which include a large variety of pads and devices for effective containment of urine, may be used in conjunction with behavioural techniques at any point in the patient’s management.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials that examined the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions for the treatment of UI in community-dwelling seniors (see Appendix 1).
Research Questions
Are caregiver-dependent behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in medically complex, frail community-dwelling seniors with/without cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits?
Are patient-directed behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in mobile, motivated community-dwelling seniors?
Are behavioural interventions delivered by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting effective in improving incontinence outcomes in community-dwelling seniors?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Executive Summary Table 1 summarizes the results of the analysis.
The available evidence was limited by considerable variation in study populations and in the type and severity of UI for studies examining both caregiver-directed and patient-directed interventions. The UI literature frequently is limited to reporting subjective outcome measures such as patient observations and symptoms. The primary outcome of interest, admission to a LTC home, was not reported in the UI literature. The number of eligible studies was low, and there were limited data on long-term follow-up.
Summary of Evidence on Behavioural Interventions for the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors
Prompted voiding
Habit retraining
Timed voiding
Bladder training
PFMT (with or without biofeedback)
Bladder control strategies
Education
Self-monitoring
CI refers to confidence interval; CNS, clinical nurse specialist; NCA, nurse continence advisor; PFMT, pelvic floor muscle training; RCT, randomized controlled trial; WMD, weighted mean difference; UI, urinary incontinence.
Economic Analysis
A budget impact analysis was conducted to forecast costs for caregiver-dependent and patient-directed multicomponent behavioural techniques delivered by NCAs, and PFMT alone delivered by physiotherapists. All costs are reported in 2008 Canadian dollars. Based on epidemiological data, published medical literature and clinical expert opinion, the annual cost of caregiver-dependent behavioural techniques was estimated to be $9.2 M, while the annual costs of patient-directed behavioural techniques delivered by either an NCA or physiotherapist were estimated to be $25.5 M and $36.1 M, respectively. Estimates will vary if the underlying assumptions are changed.
Currently, the province of Ontario absorbs the cost of NCAs (available through the 42 Community Care Access Centres across the province) in the home setting. The 2007 Incontinence Care in the Community Report estimated that the total cost being absorbed by the public system of providing continence care in the home is $19.5 M in Ontario. This cost estimate included resources such as personnel, communication with physicians, record keeping and product costs. Clinic costs were not included in this estimation because currently these come out of the global budget of the respective hospital and very few continence clinics actually exist in the province. The budget impact analysis factored in a cost for the clinic setting, assuming that the public system would absorb the cost with this new model of community care.
Considerations for Ontario Health System
An expert panel on aging in the community met on 3 occasions from January to May 2008, and in part, discussed treatment of UI in seniors in Ontario with a focus on caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions. In particular, the panel discussed how treatment for UI is made available to seniors in Ontario and who provides the service. Some of the major themes arising from the discussions included:
Services/interventions that currently exist in Ontario offering behavioural interventions to treat UI are not consistent. There is a lack of consistency in how seniors access services for treatment of UI, who manages patients and what treatment patients receive.
Help-seeking behaviours are important to consider when designing optimal service delivery methods.
There is considerable social stigma associated with UI and therefore there is a need for public education and an awareness campaign.
The cost of incontinent supplies and the availability of NCAs were highlighted.
Conclusions
There is moderate-quality evidence that the following interventions are effective in improving UI in mobile motivated seniors:
Multicomponent behavioural interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, PFMT (with or without biofeedback), education on bladder control strategies and self-monitoring techniques.
Pelvic floor muscle training alone.
There is moderate quality evidence that when behavioural interventions are led by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting, they are effective in improving UI in seniors.
There is limited low-quality evidence that prompted voiding may be effective in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers.
There is insufficient evidence for the following interventions in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers:
habit retraining, and
timed voiding.
PMCID: PMC3377527  PMID: 23074508
3.  Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The objective was to systematically review interventions aimed at preventing or reducing social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors, that is, persons ≥ 65 years of age who are not living in long-term care institutions. The analyses focused on the following questions:
Are interventions to reduce social isolation and/or loneliness effective?
Do these interventions improve health, well-being, and/or quality of life?
Do these interventions impact on independent community living by delaying or preventing functional decline or disability?
Do the interventions impact on health care utilization, such as physician visits, emergency visits, hospitalization, or admission to long-term care?
Background: Target Population and Condition
Social and family relationships are a core element of quality of life for seniors, and these relationships have been ranked second, next to health, as the most important area of life. Several related concepts—reduced social contact, being alone, isolation, and feelings of loneliness—have all been associated with a reduced quality of life in older people. Social isolation and loneliness have also been associated with a number of negative outcomes such as poor health, maladaptive behaviour, and depressed mood. Higher levels of loneliness have also been associated with increased likelihood of institutionalization.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Methods of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. The literature searches were conducted with several computerized bibliographic databases for literature published between January 1980 and February 2008. The search was restricted to English-language reports on human studies and excluded letters, comments and editorials, and case reports. Journal articles eligible for inclusion in the review included those that reported on single, focused interventions directed towards or evaluating social isolation or loneliness; included, in whole or in part, community-dwelling seniors (≥ 65 years); included some quantitative outcome measure on social isolation or loneliness; and included a comparative group. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various individuals and agencies including the Ontario Community Care Access Centres and the Ontario Assistive Devices Program. An Ontario-based budget impact was also assessed for the identified effective interventions for social isolation.
Findings
A systematic review of the published literature focusing on interventions for social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors identified 11 quantitative studies. The studies involved European or American populations with diverse recruitment strategies, intervention objectives, and limited follow-up, with cohorts from 10 to 15 years ago involving mainly elderly women less than 75 years of age. The studies involved 2 classes of interventions: in-person group support activities and technology-assisted interventions. These were delivered to diverse targeted groups of seniors such as those with mental distress, physically inactive seniors, low-income groups, and informal caregivers. The interventions were primarily focused on behaviour-based change. Modifying factors (client attitude or preference) and process issues (targeting methods of at-risk subjects, delivery methods, and settings) influenced intervention participation and outcomes.
Both classes of interventions were found to reduce social isolation and loneliness in seniors. Social support groups were found to effectively decrease social isolation for seniors on wait lists for senior apartments and those living in senior citizen apartments. Community-based exercise programs featuring health and wellness for physically inactive community-dwelling seniors also effectively reduced loneliness. Rehabilitation for mild/moderate hearing loss was effective in improving communication disabilities and reducing loneliness in seniors. Interventions evaluated for informal caregivers of seniors with dementia, however, had limited effectiveness for social isolation or loneliness.
Research into interventions for social isolation in seniors has not been broadly based, relative to the diverse personal, social, health, economic, and environmentally interrelated factors potentially affecting isolation. Although rehabilitation for hearing-related disability was evaluated, the systematic review did not locate research on interventions for other common causes of aging-related disability and loneliness, such as vision loss or mobility declines. Despite recent technological advances in e-health or telehealth, controlled studies evaluating technology-assisted interventions for social isolation have examined only basic technologies such as phone- or computer-mediated support groups.
Conclusions
Although effective interventions were identified for social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors, they were directed at specifically targeted groups and involved only a few of the many potential causes of social isolation. Little research has been directed at identifying effective interventions that influence the social isolation and other burdens imposed upon caregivers, in spite of the key role that caregivers assume in caring for seniors. The evidence on technology-assisted interventions and their effects on the social health and well-being of seniors and their caregivers is limited, but increasing demand for home health care and the need for efficiencies warrant further exploration. Interventions for social isolation in community-dwelling seniors need to be researched more broadly in order to develop effective, appropriate, and comprehensive strategies for at-risk populations.
PMCID: PMC3377559  PMID: 23074510
4.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
5.  Translating a Multifactorial Fall Prevention Intervention into Practice: A Controlled Evaluation of a Fall Prevention Clinic 
Although multifactorial fall prevention interventions have been shown to reduce falls and injurious falls, their translation into clinical settings has been limited. We describe a hospital-based, fall prevention clinic established to increase availability of preventive care for falls. Outcomes for forty-three adults aged 65+ seen during the clinic’s first six months of operation were compared to outcomes for 86 age-, gender-, and race-matched controls; all persons included in analyses received primary care at the hospital’s geriatrics clinic. Non-significant differences in falls, injurious falls, and fall-related healthcare use by study group in multivariate adjusted models were observed, likely due to the small, fixed sample size. The percent experiencing any injurious falls during the follow-up period was comparable for fall clinic visitors and controls (14% vs. 13%), despite a dramatic difference at baseline (42% of clinic visitors vs. 15% of controls). Fall-related healthcare use was higher for clinic visitors during the baseline period (21%, vs. 12% for controls) and decreased slightly (to 19%) during follow-up; differences in fall-related healthcare use by study group from baseline to follow-up were non-significant. These findings, although preliminary due both to the small sample size and the baseline difference between the groups in fall rates, suggest that being seen in a fall prevention clinic may reduce injurious falls. Additional studies will be necessary to conclusively determine the effects of multifactorial fall risk assessment and management delivered by mid-level providers working in real-world, clinical practice settings on key outcomes, including injurious falls, downstream fall-related healthcare use, and costs.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02683.x
PMCID: PMC2976670  PMID: 20370859
fall prevention clinic; fall prevention; falls; injurious falls; emergency department; hospitalization; utilization
6.  Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in reducing the probability of an elderly person’s falling and/or sustaining a fall-related injury.
Background
Although estimates of fall rates vary widely based on the location, age, and living arrangements of the elderly population, it is estimated that each year approximately 30% of community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older, and 50% of those aged 85 and older will fall. Of those individuals who fall, 12% to 42% will have a fall-related injury.
Several meta-analyses and cohort studies have identified falls and fall-related injuries as a strong predictor of admission to a long-term care (LTC) home. It has been shown that the risk of LTC home admission is over 5 times higher in seniors who experienced 2 or more falls without injury, and over 10 times higher in seniors who experienced a fall causing serious injury.
Falls result from the interaction of a variety of risk factors that can be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are those that pertain to the physical, demographic, and health status of the individual, while extrinsic factors relate to the physical and socio-economic environment. Intrinsic risk factors can be further grouped into psychosocial/demographic risks, medical risks, risks associated with activity level and dependence, and medication risks. Commonly described extrinsic risks are tripping hazards, balance and slip hazards, and vision hazards.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Evidence-Based Analysis of Effectiveness
Research Question
Since many risk factors for falls are modifiable, what interventions (devices, systems, programs) exist that reduce the risk of falls and/or fall-related injuries for community-dwelling seniors?
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Inclusion Criteria
English language;
published between January 2000 and September 2007;
population of community-dwelling seniors (majority aged 65+); and
randomized controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-experimental trials, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses.
Exclusion Criteria
special populations (e.g., stroke or osteoporosis; however, studies restricted only to women were included);
studies only reporting surrogate outcomes; or
studies whose outcome cannot be extracted for meta-analysis.
Outcomes of Interest
number of fallers, and
number of falls resulting in injury/fracture.
Search Strategy
A search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 2000 and September 2007. Furthermore, all studies included in a 2003 Cochrane review were considered for inclusion in this analysis. Abstracts were reviewed by a single author, and studies meeting the inclusion criteria outlined above were obtained. Studies were grouped based on intervention type, and data on population characteristics, fall outcomes, and study design were extracted. Reference lists were also checked for relevant studies. The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology.
Summary of Findings
The following 11 interventions were identified in the literature search: exercise programs, vision assessment and referral, cataract surgery, environmental modifications, vitamin D supplementation, vitamin D plus calcium supplementation, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), medication withdrawal, gait-stabilizing devices, hip protectors, and multifactorial interventions.
Exercise programs were stratified into targeted programs where the exercise routine was tailored to the individuals’ needs, and untargeted programs that were identical among subjects. Furthermore, analyses were stratified by exercise program duration (<6 months and ≥6 months) and fall risk of study participants. Similarly, the analyses on the environmental modification studies were stratified by risk. Low-risk study participants had had no fall in the year prior to study entry, while high-risk participants had had at least one fall in the previous year.
A total of 17 studies investigating multifactorial interventions were identified in the literature search. Of these studies, 10 reported results for a high-risk population with previous falls, while 6 reported results for study participants representative of the general population. One study provided stratified results by fall risk, and therefore results from this study were included in each stratified analysis.
Summary of Meta-Analyses of Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Interventions on the Risk of Falls in Community-Dwelling Seniors*
CI refers to confidence interval; RR, relative risk.
Hazard ratio is reported, because RR was not available.
Summary of Meta-Analyses of Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Interventions on the Risk of Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors*
CI refers to confidence interval; RR, relative risk.
Odds ratio is reported, because RR was not available.
Conclusions
High-quality evidence indicates that long-term exercise programs in mobile seniors and environmental modifications in the homes of frail elderly persons will effectively reduce falls and possibly fall-related injuries in Ontario’s elderly population.
A combination of vitamin D and calcium supplementation in elderly women will help reduce the risk of falls by more than 40%.
The use of outdoor gait-stabilizing devices for mobile seniors during the winter in Ontario may reduce falls and fall-related injuries; however, evidence is limited and more research is required in this area.
While psychotropic medication withdrawal may be an effective method for reducing falls, evidence is limited and long-term compliance has been demonstrated to be difficult to achieve.
Multifactorial interventions in high-risk populations may be effective; however, the effect is only marginally significant, and the quality of evidence is low.
PMCID: PMC3377567  PMID: 23074507
7.  The Patient Who Falls 
Falls are common health events that cause discomfort and disability for older adults and stress for caregivers. Using the case of an older man who has experienced multiple falls and a hip fracture, this article, which focuses on community-living older adults, addresses the consequences and etiology of falls; summarizes the evidence on predisposing factors and effective interventions; and discusses how to translate this evidence into patient care. Previous falls; strength, gait, and balance impairments; and medications are the strongest risk factors for falling. Effective single interventions include exercise and physical therapy, cataract surgery, and medication reduction. Evidence suggests that the most effective strategy for reducing the rate of falling in community-living older adults may be intervening on multiple risk factors. Vitamin D has the strongest clinical trial evidence of benefit for preventing fractures among older men at risk. Issues involved in incorporating these evidence-based fall prevention interventions into outpatient practice are discussed, as are the trade-offs inherent in managing older patients at risk of falling. While challenges and barriers exist, fall prevention strategies can be incorporated into clinical practice.
doi:10.1001/jama.2009.2024
PMCID: PMC3740370  PMID: 20085954
8.  Falls prevention for the elderly 
Background
An ageing population, a growing prevalence of chronic diseases and limited financial resources for health care underpin the importance of prevention of disabling health disorders and care dependency in the elderly. A wide variety of measures is generally available for the prevention of falls and fall-related injuries. The spectrum ranges from diagnostic procedures for identifying individuals at risk of falling to complex interventions for the removal or reduction of identified risk factors. However, the clinical and economic effectiveness of the majority of recommended strategies for fall prevention is unclear. Against this background, the literature analyses in this HTA report aim to support decision-making for effective and efficient fall prevention.
Research questions
The pivotal research question addresses the effectiveness of single interventions and complex programmes for the prevention of falls and fall-related injuries. The target population are the elderly (> 60 years), living in their own housing or in long term care facilities. Further research questions refer to the cost-effectiveness of fall prevention measures, and their ethical, social and legal implications.
Methods
Systematic literature searches were performed in 31 databases covering the publication period from January 2003 to January 2010. While the effectiveness of interventions is solely assessed on the basis of randomised controlled trials (RCT), the assessment of the effectiveness of diagnostic procedures also considers prospective accuracy studies. In order to clarify social, ethical and legal aspects all studies deemed relevant with regard to content were taken into consideration, irrespective of their study design. Study selection and critical appraisal were conducted by two independent assessors. Due to clinical heterogeneity of the studies no meta-analyses were performed.
Results
Out of 12,000 references retrieved by literature searches, 184 meet the inclusion criteria. However, to a variable degree the validity of their results must be rated as compromised due to different biasing factors. In summary, it appears that the performance of tests or the application of parameters to identify individuals at risk of falling yields little or no clinically relevant information. Positive effects of exercise interventions may be expected in relatively young and healthy seniors, while studies indicate opposite effects in the fragile elderly. For this specific vulnerable population the modification of the housing environment shows protective effects. A low number of studies, low quality of studies or inconsistent results lead to the conclusion that the effectiveness of the following interventions has to be rated unclear yet: correction of vision disorders, modification of psychotropic medication, vitamin D supplementation, nutritional supplements, psychological interventions, education of nursing personnel, multiple and multifactorial programs as well as the application of hip protectors.
For the context of the German health care system the economic evaluations of fall prevention retrieved by the literature searches yield very few useful results. Cost-effectiveness calculations of fall prevention are mostly based on weak effectiveness data as well as on epidemiological and cost data from foreign health care systems.
Ethical analysis demonstrates ambivalent views of the target population concerning fall risk and the necessity of fall prevention. The willingness to take up preventive measures depends on a variety of personal factors, the quality of information, guidance and decision-making, the prevention program itself and social support.
The analysis of papers regarding legal issues shows three main challenges: the uncertainty of which standard of care has to be expected with regard to fall prevention, the necessity to consider the specific conditions of every single case when measures for fall prevention are applied, and the difficulty to balance the rights to autonomous decision making and physical integrity.
Discussion and conclusions
The assessment of clinical effectiveness of interventions for fall prevention is complicated by inherent methodological problems (esp. absence of blinding) and meaningful clinical heterogeneity of available studies. Therefore meta-analyses are not appropriate, and single study results are difficult to interpret. Both problems also impair the informative value of economic analyses. With this background it has to be stated that current recommendations regarding fall prevention in the elderly are not fully supported by scientific evidence. In particular, for the generation of new recommendations the dependency of probable effects on specific characteristics of the target populations or care settings should be taken into consideration. This also applies to the variable factors influencing the willingness of the target population to take up and pursue preventive measures.
In the planning of future studies equal weight should be placed on methodological rigour (freedom from biases) and transferability of results into routine care. Economic analyses require input of German data, either in form of a “piggy back study“ or in form of a modelling study that reflects the structures of the German health care system and is based on German epidemiological and cost data.
doi:10.3205/hta000099
PMCID: PMC3334922  PMID: 22536299
accidental falls; accidents, home/*; activities of daily living; aged/*; aged/*psychology; adjustment of the living environment; cataract surgery; correction of the visual acuity; customisation of the living environment; diagnosis; dietary supplements; dose-response relationship, drug; EBM; economic evaluation; elderly; environment design; evidence-based medicine; exercise program; exercise/physiology; eye test; eyesight; eyesight test; fall; fall prevention; fall prophylaxis; fall risk; fall risk factors; falling consequences; falling danger; fall-related injuries; fracture; freedom/*; freedom-depriving measures; geriatric nursing home; health technology assessment; hip fracture; hip fractures; hip protectors; homes for the aged; HTA; humans; interventions; medical adjustment; meta-analysis as topic; motor activity; motor activity/drug effects; motor skills; motor function; multi-factorial programs; multimodal programs; nursing homes; peer review; power of movement; prevention; primary prevention; private domesticity; prophylaxis; randomized controlled trial; randomized controlled trials as topic; RCT; review literature as topic; risk assessment; risk factors; risk reduction behavior; seniors; sight; stabilized; systematic review; technology assessment, biomedical; training program; visual acuity; Vitamin D/administration & dosage
9.  Fall Prevention in Acute Care Hospitals 
Context
Falls cause injury and death for persons of all ages, but risk of falls increases markedly with age. Hospitalization further increases risk, yet no evidence exists to support short-stay hospital-based fall prevention strategies to reduce patient falls.
Objective
To investigate whether a fall prevention tool kit (FPTK) using health information technology (HIT) decreases patient falls in hospitals.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Cluster randomized study conducted January 1, 2009, through June 30, 2009, comparing patient fall rates in 4 urban US hospitals in units that received usual care (4 units and 5104 patients) or the intervention (4 units and 5160 patients).
Intervention
The FPTK integrated existing communication and workflow patterns into the HIT application. Based on a valid fall risk assessment scale completed by a nurse, the FPTK software tailored fall prevention interventions to address patients’ specific determinants of fall risk. The FPTK produced bed posters composed of brief text with an accompanying icon, patient education handouts, and plans of care, all communicating patient-specific alerts to key stakeholders.
Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome was patient falls per 1000 patient-days adjusted for site and patient care unit. A secondary outcome was fall-related injuries.
Results
During the 6-month intervention period, the number of patients with falls differed between control (n=87) and intervention (n=67) units (P=.02). Site-adjusted fall rates were significantly higher in control units (4.18 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 3.45-5.06] per 1000 patient-days) than in intervention units (3.15 [95% CI, 2.54-3.90] per 1000 patient-days; P=.04). The FPTK was found to be particularly effective with patients aged 65 years or older (adjusted rate difference, 2.08 [95% CI, 0.61-3.56] per 1000 patient-days; P=.003). No significant effect was noted in fall-related injuries.
Conclusion
The use of a fall prevention tool kit in hospital units compared with usual care significantly reduced rate of falls.
doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1567
PMCID: PMC3107709  PMID: 21045097
10.  Effectiveness of targeted falls prevention programme in subacute hospital setting: randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7441):676.
Objective To assess the effectiveness of a targeted, multiple intervention falls prevention programme in reducing falls and injuries related to falls in a subacute hospital.
Design Randomised controlled trial of a targeted multiple intervention programme implemented in addition to usual care compared with usual care alone.
Setting Three subacute wards in a metropolitan hospital specialising in rehabilitation and care of elderly patients.
Participants 626 men and women aged 38 to 99 years (average 80 years) were recruited from consecutive admissions to subacute hospital wards.
Intervention Falls risk alert card with information brochure, exercise programme, education programme, and hip protectors.
Main outcome measures Incidence rate of falls, injuries related to falls, and proportion of participants who experienced one or more falls during their stay in hospital.
Results Participants in the intervention group (n = 310) experienced 30% fewer falls than participants in the control group (n = 316). This difference was significant (Peto log rank test P = 0.045) and was most obvious after 45 days of observation. In the intervention group there was a trend for a reduction in the proportion of participants who experienced falls (relative risk 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.56 to 1.06) and 28% fewer falls resulted in injury (log rank test P = 0.20).
Conclusions A targeted multiple intervention falls prevention programme reduces the incidence of falls in the subacute hospital setting.
PMCID: PMC381222  PMID: 15031238
11.  Multiple component interventions for preventing falls and fall-related injuries among older people: systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:15.
Background
Limited attention has been paid in the literature to multiple component fall prevention interventions that comprise two or more fixed combinations of fall prevention interventions that are not individually tailored following a risk assessment. The study objective was to determine the effect of multiple component interventions on fall rates, number of fallers and fall-related injuries among older people and to establish effect sizes of particular intervention combinations.
Methods
Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Cochrane, AMED, UK Clinical Research Network Study Portfolio, Current Controlled Trials register and Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials register were systematically searched to August 2013 for randomised controlled trials targeting those aged 60 years and older with any medical condition or in any setting that compared multiple component interventions with no intervention, placebo or usual clinical care on the outcomes reported falls, number that fall or fall-related injuries. Included studies were appraised using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Estimates of fall rate ratio and risk ratio were pooled across studies using random effects meta-analysis. Data synthesis took place in 2013.
Results
Eighteen papers reporting 17 trials were included (5034 participants). There was a reduction in the number of people that fell (pooled risk ratio = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.80 to 0.91) and the fall rate (pooled rate ratio = 0.80, 95% CI 0.72 to 0.89) in favour of multiple component interventions when compared with controls. There was a small amount of statistical heterogeneity (I2 = 20%) across studies for fall rate and no heterogeneity across studies examining number of people that fell.
Conclusions
This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials found evidence that multiple component interventions that are not tailored to individually assessed risk factors are effective at reducing both the number of people that fall and the fall rate. This approach should be considered as a service delivery option.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-15
PMCID: PMC3928080  PMID: 24495705
Falls; Systematic review; Aged
12.  Hierarchical Models to Evaluate Translational Research: Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention 
Contemporary clinical trials  2007;29(3):343-350.
Background and Objective
Evidence-based second stage translational studies are necessary and difficult to evaluate. A quasi-experimental design is used to compare the rate of fall-related health care utilization of two geographically disparate areas in Connecticut, a small state in the northeastern United States, to evaluate an intervention designed to reduce fall-related injuries among older persons. This evaluation examines the two years immediately prior to intervention.
Methods
The experimental units are postal (i.e., zip) code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in which counts of fall-related health care utilization and demographic characteristics can be gathered from local and federal public health sources. We employ hierarchical modeling to determine whether there was a difference in fall-related health care utilization between the study arms prior to initiating the intervention. Geographic information systems are used to characterize neighboring ZCTAs and to graph model-adjusted rates of fall-related utilization.
Results
After adjustment for covariates and spatial variation, we observed no significant difference between rates or temporal trends of fall-related health care utilization in the study arms over the two year pre-intervention period.
Conclusion
The study arms of the Connecticut Collaboration for Falls Prevention have equivalent rates and temporal trends of fall-related utilization over the two year pre-intervention period.
doi:10.1016/j.cct.2007.10.004
PMCID: PMC2453244  PMID: 18054289
Hierarchical modeling; bias; second stage translational research; spatial analysis; quasi-experimental design
13.  The FLASSH study: protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating falls prevention after stroke and two sub-studies 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:14.
Background
Falls are common in stroke survivors returning home after rehabilitation, however there is currently a lack of evidence about preventing falls in this population. This paper describes the study protocol for the FLASSH (FaLls prevention After Stroke Survivors return Home) project.
Methods and design
This randomised controlled trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-factorial falls prevention program for stroke survivors who are at high risk of falling when they return home after rehabilitation. Intervention will consist of a home exercise program as well as individualised falls prevention and injury minimisation strategies based on identified risk factors for falls. Additionally, two sub-studies will be implemented in order to explore other key areas related to falls in this population. The first of these is a longitudinal study evaluating the relationship between fear of falling, falls and function over twelve months, and the second evaluates residual impairment in gait stability and obstacle crossing twelve months after discharge from rehabilitation.
Discussion
The results of the FLASSH project will inform falls prevention practice for stroke survivors. If the falls prevention program is shown to be effective, low cost strategies to prevent falls can be implemented for those at risk around the time of discharge from rehabilitation, thus improving safety and quality of life for stroke survivors. The two sub-studies will contribute to the overall understanding and management of falls risk in stroke survivors.
Trial registration
This trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN012607000398404).
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-14
PMCID: PMC2670269  PMID: 19335909
14.  Multifactorial assessment and targeted intervention for preventing falls and injuries among older people in community and emergency care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;336(7636):130-133.
Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of multifactorial assessment and intervention programmes to prevent falls and injuries among older adults recruited to trials in primary care, community, or emergency care settings.
Design Systematic review of randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials, and meta-analysis.
Data sources Six electronic databases (Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index) to 22 March 2007, reference lists of included studies, and previous reviews.
Review methods Eligible studies were randomised or quasi-randomised trials that evaluated interventions to prevent falls that were based in emergency departments, primary care, or the community that assessed multiple risk factors for falling and provided or arranged for treatments to address these risk factors.
Data extraction Outcomes were number of fallers, fall related injuries, fall rate, death, admission to hospital, contacts with health services, move to institutional care, physical activity, and quality of life. Methodological quality assessment included allocation concealment, blinding, losses and exclusions, intention to treat analysis, and reliability of outcome measurement.
Results 19 studies, of variable methodological quality, were included. The combined risk ratio for the number of fallers during follow-up among 18 trials was 0.91 (95% confidence interval 0.82 to 1.02) and for fall related injuries (eight trials) was 0.90 (0.68 to 1.20). No differences were found in admissions to hospital, emergency department attendance, death, or move to institutional care. Subgroup analyses found no evidence of different effects between interventions in different locations, populations selected for high risk of falls or unselected, and multidisciplinary teams including a doctor, but interventions that actively provide treatments may be more effective than those that provide only knowledge and referral.
Conclusions Evidence that multifactorial fall prevention programmes in primary care, community, or emergency care settings are effective in reducing the number of fallers or fall related injuries is limited. Data were insufficient to assess fall and injury rates.
doi:10.1136/bmj.39412.525243.BE
PMCID: PMC2206297  PMID: 18089892
15.  A protocol for evidence-based targeting and evaluation of statewide strategies for preventing falls among community-dwelling older people in Victoria, Australia 
Injury Prevention  2010;17(2):e3.
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.
doi:10.1136/ip.2010.030775
PMCID: PMC3064867  PMID: 21186224
Accidental falls; aged; elderly; evidence-based practice; falls; policy development
16.  The population approach to falls injury prevention in older people: findings of a two community trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:79.
Background
There is a sound rationale for the population-based approach to falls injury prevention but there is currently insufficient evidence to advise governments and communities on how they can use population-based strategies to achieve desired reductions in the burden of falls-related injury. The aim of the study was to quantify the effectiveness of a streamlined (and thus potentially sustainable and cost-effective), population-based, multi-factorial falls injury prevention program for people over 60 years of age.
Methods
Population-based falls-prevention interventions were conducted at two geographically-defined and separate Australian sites: Wide Bay, Queensland, and Northern Rivers, NSW. Changes in the prevalence of key risk factors and changes in rates of injury outcomes within each community were compared before and after program implementation and changes in rates of injury outcomes in each community were also compared with the rates in their respective States.
Results
The interventions in neither community substantially decreased the rate of falls-related injury among people aged 60 years or older, although there was some evidence of reductions in occurrence of multiple falls reported by women. In addition, there was some indication of improvements in fall-related risk factors, but the magnitudes were generally modest.
Conclusions
The evidence suggests that low intensity population-based falls prevention programs may not be as effective as those that are intensively implemented.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-79
PMCID: PMC2836986  PMID: 20167124
17.  Technology Innovation Enabling Falls Risk Assessment in a Community Setting 
Ageing International  2010;36(2):217-231.
Approximately one in three people over the age of 65 will fall each year, resulting in significant financial, physical, and emotional cost on the individual, their family, and society. Currently, falls are managed using on-body sensors and alarm pendants to notify others when a falls event occurs. However these technologies do not prevent a fall from occurring. There is now a growing focus on falls risk assessment and preventative interventions. Falls risk is currently assessed in a clinical setting by expert physiotherapists, geriatricians, or occupational therapists following the occurrence of an injurious fall. As the population ages, this reactive model of care will become increasingly unsatisfactory, and a proactive community-based prevention strategy will be required. Recent advances in technology can support this new model of care by enabling community-based practitioners to perform tests that previously required expensive technology or expert interpretation. Gait and balance impairment is one of the most common risk factors for falls. This paper reviews the current technical and non-technical gait and balance assessments, discusses how low-cost technology can be applied to objectively administer and interpret these tests in the community, and reports on recent research where body-worn sensors have been utilized. It also discusses the barriers to adoption in the community and proposes ethnographic research as a method to investigate solutions to these barriers.
doi:10.1007/s12126-010-9087-7
PMCID: PMC3092941  PMID: 21660088
Gait; Balance; Community assessment; Falls risk
18.  Efficacy of falls prevention interventions: protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:38.
Background
Falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Although numerous trials of falls prevention interventions have been completed, there is extensive variation in their intervention components and clinical context, such that the key elements of an effective falls prevention program remain unclear to patients, clinicians, and policy-makers. Our objective is to identify the most effective interventions and combinations of interventions that prevent falls though a systematic review and meta-analysis, including a network meta-analysis.
Methods/Design
We will search for published (e.g., MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ageline) and unpublished (e.g., trial registries, dissertations) randomised clinical trials (RCTs) in all languages examining interventions to prevent falls compared to usual care or other falls prevention interventions among adults aged ≥65 years from all settings (e.g., community, acute care, long-term care, and rehabilitation). The primary outcomes are number of injurious falls and number of hospitalizations due to falls. Secondary outcomes include falls rate, number of fallers, number of emergency room visits due to falls, number of physician visits due to falls, number of fractures, costs, and number of intervention-related harms (e.g., muscle soreness related to exercise).
We will calibrate our eligibility criteria amongst the team and two independent team members will screen the literature search results in duplicate. Conflicts will be resolved through team discussion. A similar process will be used for data abstraction and quality appraisal with the Cochrane risk of bias tool.
Our results will be synthesized descriptively and a random effects meta-analysis will be conducted if the studies are deemed methodologically, clinically, and statistically (e.g., I2<60%) similar. If appropriate, a network meta-analysis will be conducted, which will allow the comparison of interventions that have not been compared in head-to-head RCTs, as well as the effectiveness of interventions.
Discussion
We will identify the most effective interventions and combinations of interventions that prevent falls in older people. Our results will be used to optimize falls prevention strategies, and our goal is to ultimately improve the health of seniors internationally.
Trial registration
PROSPERO registry number: CRD42013004151
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-2-38
PMCID: PMC3683540  PMID: 23738619
Falls prevention; Systematic review; Network meta-analysis; Elderly
19.  The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
Objective To determine whether, and to what extent, fall prevention exercise interventions for older community dwelling people are effective in preventing different types of fall related injuries.
Data sources Electronic databases (PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase, and CINAHL) and reference lists of included studies and relevant reviews from inception to July 2013.
Study selection Randomised controlled trials of fall prevention exercise interventions, targeting older (>60 years) community dwelling people and providing quantitative data on injurious falls, serious falls, or fall related fractures.
Data synthesis Based on a systematic review of the case definitions used in the selected studies, we grouped the definitions of injurious falls into more homogeneous categories to allow comparisons of results across studies and the pooling of data. For each study we extracted or calculated the rate ratio of injurious falls. Depending on the available data, a given study could contribute data relevant to one or more categories of injurious falls. A pooled rate ratio was estimated for each category of injurious falls based on random effects models.
Results 17 trials involving 4305 participants were eligible for meta-analysis. Four categories of falls were identified: all injurious falls, falls resulting in medical care, severe injurious falls, and falls resulting in fractures. Exercise had a significant effect in all categories, with pooled estimates of the rate ratios of 0.63 (95% confidence interval 0.51 to 0.77, 10 trials) for all injurious falls, 0.70 (0.54 to 0.92, 8 trials) for falls resulting in medical care, 0.57 (0.36 to 0.90, 7 trials) for severe injurious falls, and 0.39 (0.22 to 0.66, 6 trials) for falls resulting in fractures, but significant heterogeneity was observed between studies of all injurious falls (I2=50%, P=0.04).
Conclusions Exercise programmes designed to prevent falls in older adults also seem to prevent injuries caused by falls, including the most severe ones. Such programmes also reduce the rate of falls leading to medical care.
doi:10.1136/bmj.f6234
PMCID: PMC3812467  PMID: 24169944
20.  Prevention of fall incidents in patients with a high risk of falling: design of a randomised controlled trial with an economic evaluation of the effect of multidisciplinary transmural care 
BMC Geriatrics  2007;7:15.
Background
Annually, about 30% of the persons of 65 years and older falls at least once and 15% falls at least twice. Falls often result in serious injuries, such as fractures. Therefore, the prevention of accidental falls is necessary. The aim is to describe the design of a study that evaluates the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of multiple fall risk factors in independently living older persons with a high risk of falling.
Methods/Design
The study is designed as a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with an economic evaluation. Independently living persons of 65 years and older who recently experienced a fall are interviewed in their homes and screened for risk of recurrent falling using a validated fall risk profile. Persons at low risk of recurrent falling are excluded from the RCT. Persons who have a high risk of recurrent falling are blindly randomised into an intervention (n = 100) or usual care (n = 100) group. The intervention consists of a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of multifactorial fall risk factors. The transmural multidisciplinary appraoch entails close cooperation between geriatrician, primary care physician, physical therapist and occupational therapist and can be extended with other specialists if relevant. A fall calendar is used to record falls during one year of follow-up. Primary outcomes are time to first and second falls. Three, six and twelve months after the home visit, questionnaires for economic evaluation are completed. After one year, during a second home visit, the secondary outcome measures are reassessed and the adherence to the interventions is evaluated. Data will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle and also an on-treatment analysis will be performed.
Discussion
Strengths of this study are the selection of persons at high risk of recurrent falling followed by a multidisciplinary intervention, its transmural character and the evaluation of adherence. If proven effective, implementation of our multidisciplinary assessment followed by treatment of fall risk factors will reduce the incidence of falls.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN11546541.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-7-15
PMCID: PMC1933430  PMID: 17605771
21.  The risk of hemorrhagic complications in hospital in-patients who fall while receiving antithrombotic therapy 
Thrombosis Journal  2005;3:1.
Background
The use of antithrombotic agents and falls are independently associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic injury. However, few studies have delineated the risk of fall-related hemorrhagic complications in persons who are taking antithrombotic therapy. The objective of this study was to compare the rates of fall-related hemorrhagic injury in hospital in-patients who are taking and not taking antithrombotic therapy.
Methods
A 4-year retrospective chart review of consecutive patients who fell during admission to a 500-bed tertiary-care teaching hospital was conducted. Major hemorrhagic injuries including subdural hematomas and major bleeding/cuts, patients' use of antithrombotic medication (warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel and heparin) and their anticoagulation status at the time of their fall were recorded.
Results
A total of 2635 falls in 1861 patients were reviewed. Approximately 10% of falls caused major hemorrhagic injury. One fall resulted in a subdural hematoma. Persons taking warfarin were less likely to suffer a fall-related major hemorrhagic injury compared with persons not taking antithrombotic therapy (warfarin, 6%; no therapy, 11%; p = 0.01). Logistic regression showed that fall-related major hemorrhagic injury was associated with female gender (odds ratio 1.6; 95% CI 1.3, 2.1), use of aspirin (odds ratio 1.4; 95% CI 1.1, 1.8) and use of clopidogrel (odds ratio 2.2; 95% CI 1.1, 4.8), but not with the use of warfarin or heparin, or the intensity of anticoagulation.
Conclusions
In this study, compared with persons taking no antithrombotic therapy, those taking warfarin had lower rates of fall-related hemorrhagic injuries. The absolute rate of the development of fall-related intracranial hemorrhagic injury such as subdural hematomas was low, even in persons taking warfarin. These counter-intuitive results may be due to selection bias, and suggest that physicians are very conservative in selecting patients for warfarin therapy, choosing only those who are sufficiently healthy to be at much lower than average risk of suffering fall-related hemorrhagic injuries. This phenomenon may lead to physicians overestimating the potential for fall-related major hemorrhagic injury in persons taking antithrombotic therapy, with the possible denial of warfarin therapy to many of those who would benefit. This perception may contribute to the care gap between the number of patients who would theoretically derive overall benefit from warfarin therapy and those who are actually receiving it.
doi:10.1186/1477-9560-3-1
PMCID: PMC545051  PMID: 15638939
22.  Risk of Falling and Hypnotic Drugs: Retrospective Study of Inpatients 
Drugs in R&d  2013;13(2):159-164.
Background
Falls and related injuries remain a concern for patient safety in many hospitals and nursing care facilities. In particular, reports examining the relationship between accidents and drugs with a sedative effect have been increasing; however, the analysis of correlation between the background factors of fall accidents and the detailed therapeutic category of drugs is insufficient.
Objectives
Our objective was to estimate fall risk following the administration of hypnotics in inpatients within an acute hospital. We assessed the relationship between falls and hypnotic drugs compared with other medicines.
Study Design and Setting
An inpatient population-based study was carried out at Gunma University Hospital, where all inpatients admitted between 1 October and 31 December 2007 were included. Over a 3-month follow-up period, all reports of falling accidents from ward medical staff were investigated.
Results and Discussion
Falls occurred in 1.8 % of males and 1.3 % of females in the study population (n = 3,683). The mean age of patients who experienced falls (64.7 ± 19.5 years) was significantly higher than that of patients who did not (56.2 ± 20.2 years). Multivariate analysis revealed the following drugs as high-risk factors for falling: hypnotics (odds ratio [OR] 2.17, 95 % CI 1.44–3.28), antiepileptics (OR 5.06, 95 % CI 2.70–9.46), opioids (OR 3.91, 95 % CI 2.16–7.10), anti-Alzheimer’s (OR 5.74, 95 % CI 1.62–20.3), anti-Parkinson’s (OR 5.06, 95 % CI 1.58–16.24), antidiabetics (OR 3.08, 95 % CI 1.63–5.84), antihypertensives (OR 2.24, 95 % CI 1.41–3.56), and antiarrhythmics (OR 2.82, 95 % CI 1.36–5.86). Multivariate logistic regression analysis of hypnotics, brotizolam, zopiclone, and estazolam revealed a significant association with an increased risk of inpatient falling accidents, while zolpidem, triazolam, flunitrazepam, and nitrazepam did not.
Conclusion
The present findings suggest that the risk of falling accidents in hospitals differs according to the type of hypnotic drug administered. The appropriate selection of hypnotic drugs, therefore, might be important for reducing the number of patient falls.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40268-013-0019-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s40268-013-0019-3
PMCID: PMC3689908  PMID: 23760758
23.  Injuries among older adults: the challenge of optimizing safety and minimizing unintended consequences 
Injury Prevention  2002;8(Suppl 4):iv2-iv4.
Objectives: To describe the problem of falls, motor vehicle related injuries, and suicide among older adults, and issues related to their prevention.
Methods: Summary and synthesis of selected literature.
Results: About 39 000 adults aged 65 and older die each year in the United States from injuries; worldwide this annual toll is about 946 000 persons. The top three causes of injury related death in this age goup in the United State are falls, those related to motor vehicle crashes, and suicide. Effective strategies exist for preventing fall related injuries and deaths. Preventing injuries and deaths from motor vehicles and suicide may be more difficult because of the nature of these problems.
Conclusions: As the number and percentage of older adults continues to rise in the United States and globally, new approaches to preventing injuries will be critical. Interventions will need to operate at multiple levels—directed at the individual, at interpersonal relationships, and at the community level.
doi:10.1136/ip.8.suppl_4.iv2
PMCID: PMC1765500  PMID: 12460947
24.  An interdisciplinary intervention to prevent falls in community-dwelling elderly persons: protocol of a cluster-randomized trial [PreFalls] 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:7.
Background
Prevention of falls in the elderly is a public health target in many countries around the world. While a large number of trials have investigated the effectiveness of fall prevention programs, few focussed on interventions embedded in the general practice setting and its related network. In the Prevent Falls (PreFalls) trial we aim to investigate the effectiveness of a pre-tested multi-modal intervention compared to usual care in this setting.
Methods/Design
PreFalls is a controlled multicenter prospective study with cluster-randomized allocation of about 40 general practices to an experimental or a control group. We aim to include 382 community dwelling persons aged 65 and older with an increased risk of falling. All participating general practitioners are trained to systematically assess the risk of falls using a set of validated tests. Patients from intervention practices are invited to participate in a 16-weeks exercise program with focus on fall prevention delivered by specifically trained local physiotherapists. Patients from practices allocated to the control group receive usual care. Main outcome measure is the number of falls per individual in the first 12 months (analysis by negative binomial regression). Secondary outcomes include falls in the second year, the proportion of participants falling in the first and the second year, falls associated with injury, risk of falls, fear of falling, physical activity and quality of life.
Discussion
Reducing falls in the elderly remains a major challenge. We believe that with its strong focus on a both systematic and realistic fall prevention strategy adapted to primary care setting PreFalls will be a valuable addition to the scientific literature in the field.
Trial registration
NCT01032252
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-7
PMCID: PMC3050704  PMID: 21329525
25.  The contribution of staff call light response time to fall and injurious fall rates: an exploratory study in four US hospitals using archived hospital data 
Background
Fall prevention programs for hospitalized patients have had limited success, and the effect of programs on decreasing total falls and fall-related injuries is still inconclusive. This exploratory multi-hospital study examined the unique contribution of call light response time to predicting total fall rates and injurious fall rates in inpatient acute care settings. The conceptual model was based on Donabedian's framework of structure, process, and health-care outcomes. The covariates included the hospital, unit type, total nursing hours per patient-day (HPPDs), percentage of the total nursing HPPDs supplied by registered nurses, percentage of patients aged 65 years or older, average case mix index, percentage of patients with altered mental status, percentage of patients with hearing problems, and call light use rate per patient-day.
Methods
We analyzed data from 28 units from 4 Michigan hospitals, using archived data and chart reviews from January 2004 to May 2009. The patient care unit-month, defined as data aggregated by month for each patient care unit, was the unit of analysis (N = 1063). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used.
Results
Faster call light response time was associated with lower total fall and injurious fall rates. Units with a higher call light use rate had lower total fall and injurious fall rates. A higher percentage of productive nursing hours provided by registered nurses was associated with lower total fall and injurious fall rates. A higher percentage of patients with altered mental status was associated with a higher total fall rate but not a higher injurious fall rate. Units with a higher percentage of patients aged 65 years or older had lower injurious fall rates.
Conclusions
Faster call light response time appeared to contribute to lower total fall and injurious fall rates, after controlling for the covariates. For practical relevance, hospital and nursing executives should consider strategizing fall and injurious fall prevention efforts by aiming for a decrease in staff response time to call lights. Monitoring call light response time on a regular basis is recommended and could be incorporated into evidence-based practice guidelines for fall prevention.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-84
PMCID: PMC3364911  PMID: 22462485

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