Objective: To evaluate whether a service to prevent falls in the community would help reduce the rate of falls in older people who call an emergency ambulance when they fall but are not taken to hospital. Design: Randomised controlled trial. Setting: Community covered by four primary care trusts, England. Participants: 204 adults aged more than 60 living at home or in residential care who had fallen and called an emergency ambulance but were not taken to hospital. Interventions: Referral to community fall prevention services or standard medical and social care. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the rate of falls over 12 months, ascertained from monthly diaries. Secondary outcomes were scores on the Barthel index, Nottingham extended activities of daily living scale, and falls efficacy scale at baseline and by postal questionnaire at 12 months. Analysis was by intention to treat. Results: 102 people were allocated to each group. 99 (97%) participants in the intervention group received the intervention. Falls diaries were analysed for 88.6 person years in the intervention group and 84.5 person years in the control group. The incidence rates of falls per year were 3.46 in the intervention group and 7.68 in the control group (incidence rate ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.35 to 0.58, P<0.001). The intervention group achieved higher scores on the Barthel index and Nottingham extended activities of daily living and lower scores on the falls efficacy scale (all P<0.05) at the 12 month follow-up. The number of times an emergency ambulance was called because of a fall was significantly different during follow-up (incidence rate ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval 0.40 to 0.92, P=0.018). Conclusion: A service to prevent falls in the community reduced the fall rate and improved clinical outcome in the high risk group of older people who call an emergency ambulance after a fall but are not taken to hospital. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN67535605.
|Publication status||Published - 2010|