Statement of Purpose To assess the impact of the ‘Stepping On’ fall prevention program on the incidence of falls and frailty measures.
Methods/Approach Older adults who participated in the ‘Stepping On’ fall prevention program facilitated by our institution from April 2018 through September 2019 were included in this study. Non-English speakers and participants who were unable to answer our surveys themselves were excluded. Participants filled out pre and post-fall prevention program questionnaires and the Frail Scale assessment at baseline and post-program. They also completed a follow up questionnaire and Frail scale assessment at 6- and 12- months intervals post-program. Univariate analysis was performed comparing robust, pre-frail, and frail subjects. P < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results Sixty-four participants were enrolled; 47 completed the study. Of those, 11 were robust, 29 were pre-frail, and seven were frail based on their Frail Scale scores. Frail participants were significantly older (77 ± 5.4 vs. 73.9 ± 5.8 vs. 72.8 ± 5.5, p = 0.026), more likely to live alone (71.4% vs. 65.5% vs. 18.2%, p = 0.017), and less likely to have a college degree (28.6% vs. 72.5% vs. 100%, p = 0.004) when compared to pre-frail and robust participants. At 12-months post-program, a significant decrease in fall reporting when compared to baseline was observed (12.8% vs. 29.8%, p = 0.044). A significant decrease in frailty scores was also observed (0.91 ± 1.1 vs. 1.3 ± 1.082, p = 0.009). Our data show that 41.4% of the pre-frail participants at baseline improved to robust.
Conclusion Participation in ‘Stepping On’ led to a decrease in reported falls and in frailty scores 12 months post-program, suggesting that participation in ‘Stepping On’ may help delay frailty progression.
Significance Our data highlight the importance of fall prevention programs for older community dwellers, supporting healthy living.
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