Bone FractureElderly

Paying attention reduces falls in the elderly

In Connecticut, the elderly benefit when healthcare providers allocate a part of their patient care time to fall prevention.

First, the details.

  • The rates of injuries from falls in a region of Connecticut where healthcare providers were exposed to strategies to change clinical practice (intervention region) were compared to a usual-care region.
  • Primary care providers were encouraged to become involved in home care, outpatient rehabilitation, and senior centers to adopt risk assessments and strategies to prevent falls (medication reduction, and balance and gait training).
  • Emphasis was placed on persons at least 70 years of age.

And, the results.

  • Before the study, the adjusted rates of serious fall-related injuries were 31 per 1000 person-years in both regions.
  • During the study, serious fall-related injuries were 31 and 29 per 1000 person-years, respectively.
  • Fall-related use of medical services before and during the study increased from 68 to 83 per 1000 person-years in the usual-care region and from 71 to 74 in the intervention region.
  • All differences were significant.

The bottom line?
“Dissemination of evidence about fall prevention, coupled with interventions to change clinical practice, may reduce fall-related injuries in elderly persons,” according to the authors.

Aside from what this study says about the ability to reduce falls in the elderly, I think there’s one other important CAM-related take-away point. Allopathic physicians (and other healthcare professionals) will alter their practice in the face of evidence that certain activities such as balance and gait training, in addition to their drug prescribing, has documented benefit for their patients.

It’s all about the evidence.

7/18/08 17:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.