Bone FractureCAM Cost EffectivenessElderly

Cost-effectiveness: Falls prevention in high-risk elderly

Falls prevention programs reduce the risk in older people. But are they cost-effective?

Researchers in the UK evaluated the fiscal benefits.

First, the details.

  • 364 seniors at high risk of falling and living in the community received a falls prevention information leaflet.
  • They were divided into 2 groups.
    • A day hospital multidisciplinary falls prevention program, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nurse, medical review, and referral to other specialists
    • A control group
  • Self-reported falls were recorded in 12 monthly diaries.
  • Levels of health resource use were monitored.
  • Mean NHS costs and falls per person per year were estimated for both groups.

And, the results.

  • The average falls program cost was £349 ($488) per person.
  • This, coupled with higher screening and other health-care costs, resulted in a average incremental cost of £578 ($808) for those in the falls prevention program.
  • The average rate of falls was lower in the falls prevention group (2.07 per person/year) vs the control group (2.24).
  • The estimated incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £3,320 ($4645) per fall averted.
    • Cost-effectiveness ratio compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action.

The bottom line?

Based on the reported benefits, the authors recommended; “future research should focus on adherence to the intervention and an assessment of impact on quality of life.”

Earlier this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, applied a mathematical epidemiological model to estimate the cost-effectiveness of several fall prevention options. They concluded that based on the greatest evidence, home modifications provide the best value.

10/21/10 20:39 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.