Cochrane review: Multifactorial & multicomponent interventions for preventing falls in the community, care facilities and hospitals
Falls and fall-related injuries are common, particularly in those aged over 65 living in the community, in care homes and hospitals. Effective interventions to prevent falls are therefore important. Two separate Cochrane reviews published in 2018 looked at multifactorial and multiple component interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community, and care facilities and hospitals.
Interventions for preventing falls in older people in care facilities and hospitals
This review searched the healthcare literature for reports of randomised controlled trials up to August 2017. 95 randomised controlled trials involving 138,164 participants were identified. Seventy-one trials (40,374 participants) were in care facilities, and 24 (97,790 participants) in hospitals. On average, participants were 84 years old in care facilities and 78 years old in hospitals. In care facilities, 75% were women and in hospitals, 52% were women.
In care facilities: we are uncertain of the effect of exercise on rate of falls and it may make little or no difference to the risk of falling. General medication review may make little or no difference to the rate of falls or risk of falling. Vitamin D supplementation probably reduces the rate of falls but not risk of falling. We are uncertain of the effect of multifactorial interventions on the rate of falls; they may make little or no difference to the risk of falling.
In hospitals: we are uncertain of the effect of additional physiotherapy on the rate of falls or whether it reduces the risk of falling. We are uncertain of the effect of providing bed sensor alarms on the rate of falls or risk of falling. Multifactorial interventions may reduce rate of falls, although subgroup analysis suggests this may apply mostly to a subacute setting; we are uncertain of the effect of these interventions on risk of falling.
Multifactorial and multiple component interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community
This review focused on multifactorial and multicomponent interventions to prevent falls in those aged over 65, living in the community falling at least once a year. Their delivery can broadly be divided into two main groups: 1) multifactorial interventions where component interventions differ based on individual assessment of risk; or 2) multiple component interventions where the same component interventions are provided to all people. 62 trials involving 19,935 older people were identified. The median trial size was 248 participants. Most trials included more women than men. The mean ages in trials ranged from 62 to 85 years (median 77 years). Most trials (43 trials) reported follow‐up of 12 months or over.
Multifactorial interventions may reduce the rate of falls compared with usual care or attention control. However, there may be little or no effect on other fall‐related outcomes. Multiple component interventions, usually including exercise, may reduce the rate of falls and risk of falling compared with usual care or attention control.