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      A Technological-Based Platform for Risk Assessment, Detection, and Prevention of Falls Among Home-Dwelling Older Adults: Protocol for a Quasi-Experimental Study

      , MSc, PhD 1 , , , MSc, PhD 1 , , MSc 2 , , MSc 2
      (Reviewer), (Reviewer)
      JMIR Research Protocols
      JMIR Publications
      fall prevention, technological platform, elderly, Otago Exercise Program

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          According to the United Nations, it is estimated that by 2050, the number of people aged 80 years and older will have increased by 3 times. Increased longevity is often accompanied by structural and functional changes that occur throughout an individual’s lifespan. These changes are often aggravated by chronic comorbidities, adopted behaviors or lifestyles, and environmental exposure, among other factors. Some of the related outcomes are loss of muscle strength, decreased balance control, and mobility impairments, which are strongly associated with the occurrence of falls in the elderly. Despite the continued undervaluation of the importance of knowledge on fall prevention among the elderly population by primary care health professionals, several evidence-based (single or multifaceted) fall prevention programs such as the Otago Exercise Program (OEP) have demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk of falls and fall-related injuries in the elderly within community settings. Recent studies have strived to integrate technology into physical exercise programs, which is effective for adherence and overcoming barriers to exercise, as well as improving physical functioning.


          This study aims to assess the impact of the OEP on the functionality of home-dwelling elderly using a common technological platform. Particularly, the impact on muscle strength, balance, mobility, risk of falling, the perception of fear of falling, and the perception of the elderly regarding the ease of use of technology are being examined in this study.


          A quasi-experimental study (before and after; single group) will be conducted with male and female participants aged 65 years or older living at home in the district of Porto. Participants will be recruited through the network COLABORAR, with a minimum of 30 participants meeting the study inclusion and exclusion criteria. All participants will sign informed consent forms. The data collection instrument consists of sociodemographic and clinical variables (self-reported), functional evaluation variables, and environmental risk variables. The data collection tool integrates primary and secondary outcome variables. The primary outcome is gait (timed-up and go test; normal step). The secondary outcome variables are lower limb strength and muscle resistance (30-second chair stand test), balance (4-stage balance test), frequency of falls, functional capacity (Lawton and Brody - Portuguese version), fear of falling (Falls Efficacy Scale International - Portuguese version), usability of the technology (System Usability Scale - Portuguese version), and environmental risk variables (home fall prevention checklist for older adults). Technological solutions, such as the FallSensing Home application and Kallisto wearable device, will be used, which will allow the detection and prevention of falls. The intervention is characterized by conducting the OEP through a common technological platform 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Throughout these weeks, the participants will be followed up in person or by telephone contact by the rehabilitation nurse. Considering the COVID-19 outbreak, all guidelines from the National Health Service will be followed. The project was funded by InnoStars, in collaboration with the Local EIT Health Regional Innovation Scheme Hub of the University of Porto.


          This study was approved on October 9, 2020 by the Ethics Committee of Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto (ESEP). The recruitment process was meant to start in October, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was suspended. We expect to restart the study by the beginning of the third quarter of 2021.


          The findings of this study protocol will contribute to the design and development of future robust studies for technological tests in a clinical context.

          Trial Registration

          ISRCTN 15895163; https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN15895163

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references45

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          Development and initial validation of the Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I).

          There is a need for a measure of fear of falling that assesses both easy and difficult physical activities and social activities and is suitable for use in a range of languages and cultural contexts, permitting direct comparison between studies and populations in different countries and settings. To develop a modified version of the Falls Efficacy Scale to satisfy this need, and to establish its psychometric properties, reliability, and concurrent validity (i.e. that it demonstrates the expected relationship with age, falls history and falls risk factors). Cross-sectional survey. Community sample. 704 people aged between 60 and 95 years completed The Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I) either in postal self-completion format or by structured interview. The FES-I had excellent internal and test-retest reliability (Cronbach's alpha=0.96, ICC=0.96). Factor analysis suggested a unitary underlying factor, with two dimensions assessing concern about less demanding physical activities mainly in the home, and concern about more demanding physical activities mainly outside the home. The FES-I had slightly better power than the original FES items to discriminate differences in concern about falling between groups differentiated by sex, age, occupation, falls in the past year, and falls risk factors (chronic illness, taking multiple or psychoactive medications, dizziness). The FES-I has close continuity with the best existing measure of fear of falling, excellent psychometric properties, and assesses concerns relating to basic and more demanding activities, both physical and social. Further research is required to confirm cross-cultural and predictive validity.
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            An Empirical Evaluation of the System Usability Scale

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              Summary of the Updated American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society clinical practice guideline for prevention of falls in older persons.

              The following article is a summary of the American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention of Falls in Older Persons (2010). This article provides additional discussion of the guideline process and the differences between the current guideline and the 2001 version and includes the guidelines' recommendations, algorithm, and acknowledgments. The complete guideline is published on the American Geriatrics Society's Web site (http://www.americangeriatrics.org/health_care_professionals/clinical_practice/clinical_guidelines_recommendations/2010/). © 2011, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, The American Geriatrics Society.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                August 2021
                12 August 2021
                : 10
                : 8
                : e25781
                [1 ] Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto (ESEP) Inovação e Desenvolvimento em Enfermagem Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias e Serviços de Saúde Porto Portugal
                [2 ] Fraunhofer Portugal Research Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions Porto Portugal
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Fátima Araújo araujo@ 123456esenf.pt
                Author information
                ©Fátima Araújo, Maria Nilza Nogueira, Joana Silva, Sílvia Rego. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 12.08.2021.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 15 November 2020
                : 17 December 2020
                : 19 December 2020
                : 8 June 2021

                fall prevention,technological platform,elderly,otago exercise program


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