Background: Unintentional falls are particularly prevalent among older people and constitute a public health concern. Not much is known about the implications of multifaceted intervention programs implemented in residential care settings.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of multifaceted intervention programs in reducing the number of falls, fallers, recurrent fallers, and injurious falls among older people living in residential care facilities.
Search strategy: Comprehensive searches of Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE up to July 2007, the cited literature lists of each included study, and the internet engines Google Scholar, Yahoo, and Dogpile were performed to identify eligible studies.
Selection criteria: Eligible studies for this review were those that had randomized, controlled trials with adequate follow-up study components in their design. Studies that included elderly people in residential care who participated in multifaceted falls-prevention programs were included.
Data collection and analysis: Two authors independently extracted the necessary data. Studies were assessed for quality by the criteria of Downs and Black. The results of the included studies have been reviewed narratively.
Main results: From 21 articles potentially relevant to the topic, five studies met the inclusion criteria and all were reasonably well conducted. Three reported significant reductions in the number of recurrent fallers, two reported significant reductions in the number of falls, and one reported significant reductions in the number of fallers. One other reported a reduction in the number of injurious falls in those who received the multifaceted prevention program compared with the control group. However, the analyses of this specific study were not based on intent-to-treat, so the effect of intervention on the number of injurious falls remains inconclusive. No study reported on adverse events, costs, or sustainability of the interventions.
Conclusions: Multifaceted programs that encompass a wide range of intervention strategies have shown some evidence of efficacy. However, more well-designed research is required that assesses effects on injurious falls, quality of life, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability.
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Competing interests: None.