Hill, A., Etherton-Beer, C., McPhail, S., Morris, M., Flicker, L., Shorr, R., Bulsara, M., Lee, D., Francis-Coad, J., Waldron, N., Boudville, A., & Haines, T. (2017). Reducing falls after hospital discharge: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating an individualised multi-modal falls education program for older adults. BMJ Open, 7 (2).
Introduction: Older adults frequently fall after discharge from hospital. Older people may have low self-perceived risk of falls and poor knowledge about falls prevention. The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of providing tailored falls prevention education in addition to usual care on falls rates in older people after discharge from hospital compared to providing a social intervention in addition to usual care.
Methods and analyses: The ‘Back to My Best’ study is a multisite, single blind, parallel-group randomised controlled trial with blinded outcome assessment and intention-to-treat analysis, adhering to CONSORT guidelines. Patients (n=390) (aged 60 years or older; score more than 7/10 on the Abbreviated Mental Test Score; discharged to community settings) from aged care rehabilitation wards in three hospitals will be recruited and randomly assigned to one of two groups. Participants allocated to the control group shall receive usual care plus a social visit. Participants allocated to the experimental group shall receive usual care and a falls prevention programme incorporating a video, workbook and individualised follow-up from an expert health professional to foster capability and motivation to engage in falls prevention strategies. The primary outcome is falls rates in the first 6 months after discharge, analysed using negative binomial regression with adjustment for participant's length of observation in the study. Secondary outcomes are injurious falls rates, the proportion of people who become fallers, functional status and health-related quality of life. Healthcare resource use will be captured from four sources for 6 months after discharge. The study is powered to detect a 30% relative reduction in the rate of falls (negative binomial incidence ratio 0.70) for a control rate of 0.80 falls per person over 6 months.
Ethics and dissemination: Results will be presented in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences worldwide. This study is approved by hospital and university Human Research Ethics Committees.
reducing falls, hospital discharge, older adults, falls education