A $30 million, 5-year project will use large-scale clinical trials to create a "cohesive intervention" for falls reduction. The project, announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), will study over 6,000 adults 75 and older in 10 trial sites across the country.
The study is being led by researchers from the Yale, Harvard, and University of California – Los Angeles medical schools, and will include more than 100 researchers. First-year funding of $7.6 million was awarded on June 1 from the NIH/PCORI Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership.
"Previous studies have analyzed risk factors for falls and fall injuries, along with interventions to prevent them," according to a news release from NIH. "But the best evidence about how to reduce falls has not been broadly applied."
The first year of the study is a pilot phase in which researchers will assess elements of the proposed intervention with smaller numbers of participants. After the first year (and pending approval by NIH and PCORI), the full trial will begin and last for 18 months. Participants will be followed for up to 3 years.
"The trial will focus on clinical practice redesign, while also using interventions tailored to individuals," said Shalander Bhasin, MD, 1 of the 3 leaders of the study. "The goal is to recognize and overcome challenges in implementing falls injury prevention strategies in diverse health systems." The selected clinical sites are included in the news release.
Falls prevention has been a major focus of APTA resources, with the association providing education on exercise prescriptions for balance improvement and falls prevention, and offering other information for physical therapists, such as how to develop consumer events on balance, falls, and exercise, evidence-based falls programs, and a PTNow clinical practice summary on falls risk in community dwelling elders. Members can also access an APTA pocket guide on falls risk reduction (.pdf) as well as take part in an online community where members can share information about falls prevention.
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