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Pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of flooring to reduce injuries from falls in elderly care units: study protocol


Falls are an issue disproportionately affecting older people who are at increased risk of falls and injury. This protocol describes a pilot study investigating shock-absorbing flooring for fall-related injuries in wards for older people.

Objectives To inform future research by evaluating fall-related injuries on the intervention and existing flooring, assessing the sustainability of the flooring in ward environments, estimating the cost-effectiveness of the floor and assessing how the floor affects patients and other users.

Design This study uses mixed methods: a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial, observation via mechanical testing and interviews. Eight participating wards (clusters) are randomised using a computer-generated list. No blinding is incorporated into the study. Each site has a baseline period of approximately 6 months. Then, four sites receive the intervention floor, while four continue using standard floors. Sites are then followed up for approximately 1 year.

Participants Any person admitted to a bed in the ‘study area’ of a participating ward can be entered into the trial. Orientated patients, visitors and any hospital staff who use the floor in a study area are eligible for inclusion in an interview.

Intervention An 8.3 mm thick vinyl floor covering with polyvinyl chloride foam backing (Tarkett Omnisports EXCEL).

Outcomes The primary outcome is fall-related injuries. Severity of injuries, falls, cost-effectiveness, user views and mechanical performance (shock absorbency and slip resistance) are also being assessed.

Trial registration NCT00817869; UKCRN ID: 5735.

  • Accidental falls
  • floors and floor coverings
  • frail elderly, environmental modification
  • fall
  • mixedmethods
  • methods
  • environmental modification
  • fall
  • mixed methods
  • randomised trial
  • systematic review
  • hip facture
  • public health
  • hospital care
  • concussion
  • behaviour change
  • public health
  • pedestrian
  • implementation/translation
  • environmental modification
  • fall
  • mixed methods
  • older people
  • hospital care

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