Are interventions to reduce falls in the community effective?
From: The Cochrane Collaboration
- Gillespie, L.D., Robertson, M.C., Gillespie, W.J., Sherrington, C., Gates, S., Clemson, L.M., Lamb, S.E., 1996. Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community, in: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- 159 trials with 79,193 participants.
- The paper is a systematic review / meta analysis of all relevant trials.
- This means that the data from all similar trials has been grouped to form an overall outcome.
- What is not effective - Taking vitamin D supplements (but may do so in those who have lower vitamin D levels in the blood before treatment).
- What is inconclusive - the provision of educational materials alone for preventing falls.
- What is effective - Group and home-based exercise programmes, usually containing some balance and strength training exercises, Tai Chi, interventions to improve home safety, an anti-slip shoe device, gradual withdrawal of a particular type of drug for improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and treating depression (psychotropic medication), cataract surgery reduces falls in women having the operation on the first affected eye. Insertion of a pacemaker can reduce falls in people with frequent falls associated with carotid sinus hypersensitivity, and in people with disabling foot pain, the addition of footwear assessment, customised insoles, and foot and ankle exercises to regular podiatry reduced the number of falls but not the number of people falling.
- Yes (with confidence) – balance and strength exercises, Tai Chi, interventions to improve home safety, and a number of other specific actions as listed in the results above.