The impact of falls prevention on participation in daily occupations of older adults following discharge

The authors conducted this study to examine the effect of falls intervention programmes on participation of older adults returning home to live, after discharge from hospital. A systematic review of peer-reviewed articles and grey literature was completed. Limits were set for articles published in English, dated 1990-2012. Inclusion criteria included randomised control trials with older adults (≥65 years) that used an effective falls intervention and a participation measure, after discharge from hospital or emergency department. Research risk of bias was evaluated using the PEDro scale (range 1-10). A meta-analysis of the selected articles was completed. Five studies met the inclusion parameters and measured participation outcomes short-term (<six months post-discharge, n = 488) and long-term (6-12 months post-discharge, n = 571). Their results indicated that falls interventions provided a positive improvement in patients’ participation level (p = 0.042, p = 0.026). However, the effect size was small at 0.20 and 0.21.

The authors’ meta-analysis findings in this study suggest that there is a causal association between falls interventions and participation in daily occupations with older adults following discharge. While the effect size was small, practice implications of their study imply that participation needs to be considered in future falls prevention research. They concluded that implications for Rehabilitation Falls interventions for older adults following discharge home from hospital, increase participation in life situations to a small extent. Health professionals can include a focus on falls prevention programmes with older adults to encourage participation.

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