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Effectiveness of multifactorial interventions in preventing falls among older adults in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis.


LEE Seon Heui, YU Soyoung



Background: Falls often cause unexpected injuries that older adults find difficult to recover from (e.g., hip and other major fractures, intracranial bleeding); therefore, fall prevention and interventions are of particular significance. Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of multifactorial fall prevention interventions among community-dwelling older adults and compare subgroups that differed in terms of their degree of fall risk and the intensity and components of interventions. Methods: An exhaustive systematic literature search was undertaken using the following databases: Ovid-Medline, Ovid-Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Central). Two investigators independently extracted data and assessed the quality of the studies by examining the risk of bias. This study conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that had been published up to March 31st, 2019, using Review Manager. Results: Of 1,328 studies, 45 articles were relevant to this study. In total, 29 studies included participants in the high-risk group, 3 in the frail group, and 13 in the healthy older adult group. Additionally, 28 and 17 studies used active and referral multifactorial interventions, respectively. Multifactorial interventions included the following components: exercise, education, environmental modification, medication, mobility aids, and vision and psychological management. Multifactorial interventions significantly reduced fall rates in the high-risk (risk ratio 0.66; 95% confidence interval 0.52–0.84) and healthy groups (risk ratio 0.72; 95% confidence interval 0.58–0.89), when compared to the control group. Active multifactorial interventions (risk ratio 0.64; 95% confidence interval 0.51–0.80) and those featuring exercise (risk ratio 0.66; 95% confidence interval 0.54–0.80) and environmental modification also showed significantly reduced fall rates (risk ratio 0.65; 95% confidence interval 0.54–0.79) compared to usual care. Multifactorial interventions had a significantly lower number of people who experienced falls during the study period compared to usual care in the healthy group (risk ratio 0.77; 95% confidence interval 0.62–0.95). Active multifactorial interventions (risk ratio 0.73; 95% confidence interval 0.60–0.89) and those featuring exercise (risk ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.66–0.95) and environmental modification (risk ratio 0.80; 95% confidence interval 0.68–0.95) had a significantly lower number of people who experienced falls compared to those receiving usual care. Conclusions: Active multifactorial interventions had positive effects on fall rates and the number of people experiencing falls. Thus, healthcare workers, including nurses, should be involved in planning fall prevention programs so that older adults can be provided with optimal care; multifactorial interventions that include exercise and environmental modification are particularly effective in reducing falls. (Edited publisher abstract)

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