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      Community-based health efforts for the prevention of falls in the elderly

      1 , 2 , 3

      Clinical Interventions in Aging

      Dove Medical Press

      fall, fracture, prevention, public health

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          Abstract

          Falls are a major public health problem in the elderly population. The associated health care cost is great. It has therefore become an important public health matter to evaluate those interventions that might be effective in reducing the risk of falls. Risk factors that predict an increased risk of falling are described. We discuss interventions that can be employed in the community to reduce the risk of falls and associated injuries by discipline, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and physician-led interventions. We also discuss the cost-effectiveness of such interventions.

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          Most cited references 65

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          The costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults.

          To estimate the incidence and direct medical costs for fatal and non-fatal fall injuries among US adults aged >or=65 years in 2000, for three treatment settings stratified by age, sex, body region, and type of injury. Incidence data came from the 2000 National Vital Statistics System, 2001 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program, 2000 Health Care Utilization Program National Inpatient Sample, and 1999 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Costs for fatal falls came from Incidence and economic burden of injuries in the United States; costs for non-fatal falls were based on claims from the 1998 and 1999 Medicare fee-for-service 5% Standard Analytical Files. A case crossover approach was used to compare the monthly costs before and after the fall. In 2000, there were almost 10 300 fatal and 2.6 million medically treated non-fatal fall related injuries. Direct medical costs totaled 0.2 billion dollars for fatal and 19 billion dollars for non-fatal injuries. Of the non-fatal injury costs, 63% (12 billion dollars ) were for hospitalizations, 21% (4 billion dollars) were for emergency department visits, and 16% (3 billion dollars) were for treatment in outpatient settings. Medical expenditures for women, who comprised 58% of the older adult population, were 2-3 times higher than for men for all medical treatment settings. Fractures accounted for just 35% of non-fatal injuries but 61% of costs. Fall related injuries among older adults, especially among older women, are associated with substantial economic costs. Implementing effective intervention strategies could appreciably decrease the incidence and healthcare costs of these injuries.
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            A multifactorial intervention to reduce the risk of falling among elderly people living in the community.

            Since falling is associated with serious morbidity among elderly people, we investigated whether the risk of falling could be reduced by modifying known risk factors. We studied 301 men and women living in the community who were at least 70 years of age and who had at least one of the following risk factors for falling: postural hypotension; use of sedatives; use of at least four prescription medications; and impairment in arm or leg strength or range of motion, balance, ability to move safely from bed to chair or to the bathtub or toilet (transfer skills), or gait. These subjects were given either a combination of adjustment in their medications, behavioral instructions, and exercise programs aimed at modifying their risk factors (intervention group, 153 subjects) or usual health care plus social visits (control group, 148 subjects). During one year of follow-up, 35 percent of the intervention group fell, as compared with 47 percent of the control group (P = 0.04). The adjusted incidence-rate ratio for falling in the intervention group as compared with the control group was 0.69 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.90). Among the subjects who had a particular risk factor at base line, a smaller percentage of those in the intervention group than of those in the control group still had the risk factor at the time of reassessment, as follows: at least four prescription medications, 63 percent versus 86 percent, P = 0.009; balance impairment, 21 percent versus 46 percent, P = 0.001; impairment in toilet-transfer skills, 49 percent versus 65 percent, P = 0.05; and gait impairment, 45 percent versus 62 percent, P = 0.07. The multiple-risk-factor intervention strategy resulted in a significant reduction in the risk of falling among elderly persons in the community. In addition, the proportion of persons who had the targeted risk factors for falling was reduced in the intervention group, as compared with the control group. Thus, risk-factor modification may partially explain the reduction in the risk of falling.
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              Meta-analysis of the impact of 9 medication classes on falls in elderly persons.

              There is increasing recognition that the use of certain medications contributes to falls in seniors. Our objective was to update a previously completed meta-analysis looking at the association of medication use and falling to include relevant drug classes and new studies that have been completed since a previous meta-analysis. Studies were identified through a systematic search of English-language articles published from 1996 to 2007. We identified studies that were completed on patients older than 60 years, looking at the association between medication use and falling. Bayesian methods allowed us to combine the results of a previous meta-analysis with new information to estimate updated Bayesian odds ratios (ORs) and 95% credible intervals (95% CrIs) Of 11 118 identified articles, 22 met our inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses were completed on 9 unique drug classes, including 79 081 participants, with the following Bayesian unadjusted OR estimates: antihypertensive agents, OR, 1.24 (95% CrI, 1.01-1.50); diuretics, OR, 1.07 (95% CrI, 1.01-1.14); beta-blockers, OR, 1.01 (95% CrI, 0.86-1.17); sedatives and hypnotics, OR, 1.47 (95% CrI, 1.35-1.62); neuroleptics and antipsychotics, OR, 1.59 (95% CrI, 1.37-1.83); antidepressants, OR, 1.68 (95% CrI, 1.47-1.91); benzodiazepines, OR, 1.57 (95% CrI, 1.43-1.72); narcotics, OR, 0.96 (95% CrI, 0.78-1.18); and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, OR, 1.21 (95% CrI, 1.01-1.44). The updated Bayesian adjusted OR estimates for diuretics, neuroleptics and antipsychotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines were 0.99 (95% CrI, 0.78-1.25), 1.39 (95% CrI, 0.94-2.00), 1.36 (95% CrI, 1.13-1.76), and 1.41 (95% CrI, 1.20-1.71), respectively. Stratification of studies had little effect on Bayesian OR estimates, with only small differences in the stratified ORs observed across population (for beta-blockers and neuroleptics and antipsychotics) and study type (for sedatives and hypnotics, benzodiazepines, and narcotics). An increased likelihood of falling was estimated for the use of sedatives and hypnotics, neuroleptics and antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in studies considered to have "good" medication and falls ascertainment. The use of sedatives and hypnotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines demonstrated a significant association with falls in elderly individuals.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Clin Interv Aging
                Clinical Interventions in Aging
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9092
                1178-1998
                2011
                2011
                20 December 2010
                : 6
                : 19-25
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medicine, Letterkenny General Hospital, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Ireland;
                [2 ]Department of Rheumatology, Our Lady’s Hospital Manorhamilton, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, Ireland;
                [3 ]Department of Medicine, Castlebar, Co Mayo, Ireland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Alan Hanley, Department of Medicine, Letterkenny, General Hospital, Letterkenny, Co, Donegal, Ireland, Tel + 353 74 9125888, Email alanhanley@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                cia-6-019
                10.2147/CIA.S9489
                3066249
                21472088
                © 2011 Hanley et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Health & Social care

                fracture, fall, public health, prevention

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