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Prevention of falls and fall-related injuries in older people
  1. L Gillespie,
  2. H Handoll
  1. Correspondence to Dr H Handoll, School of Health and Social Care, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK; h.handoll{at}

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As people get older, they may fall more often for a variety of reasons including problems with balance, poor vision, and dementia. About a third of community-dwelling people over 65 years old fall each year, and the incidence of falls, and fall-related injuries, increases with age.1 Although less than 10% of falls in community-living older people result in a fracture, these are a significant source of morbidity1 and mortality.2 More commonly, falls result in minor injuries such as bruising and lacerations. They can also result in fear of falling and loss of confidence, and admission to a nursing home.

Many risk factors appear to interact in older people who suffer fractures,3 and it is possible that fall-prevention strategies have limited effect on falls that result in injuries, or are ineffective in populations at a higher risk of injury.4 Interventions designed to reduce falls would require large effects to have an impact on the incidence of fractures. In the past, fall-prevention trials have not been adequately powered to detect effect on injury outcomes, and variation in the definition of these outcomes has hindered meta-analysis.5 The Prevention …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.