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Effectiveness of preventive home visits in reducing the risk of falls in old age: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Luck T, Motzek T, Luppa, Matschinger, Fleischer, Sesselmann, Roling, Beutner, König, Behrens, Riedel-Heller

Received 26 January 2013

Accepted for publication 30 April 2013

Published 12 June 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 697—702


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 6

Tobias Luck,1,2,* Tom Motzek,3,* Melanie Luppa,1 Herbert Matschinger,1 Steffen Fleischer,4 Yves Sesselmann,4 Gudrun Roling,5 Katrin Beutner,4 Hans-Helmut König,6 Johann Behrens,4 Steffi G Riedel-Heller1

1Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; 2Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; 3Technical University Dresden, Dresden, Germany; 4Institute of Nursing and Health Science, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany; 5Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany; 6Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Falls in older people are a major public health issue, but the underlying causes are complex. We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of preventive home visits as a multifactorial, individualized strategy to reduce falls in community-dwelling older people.
Methods: Data were derived from a prospective randomized controlled trial with follow-up examination after 18 months. Two hundred and thirty participants (≥80 years of age) with functional impairment were randomized to intervention and control groups. The intervention group received up to three preventive home visits including risk assessment, home counseling intervention, and a booster session. The control group received no preventive home visits. Structured interviews at baseline and follow-up provided information concerning falls in both study groups. Random-effects Poisson regression evaluated the effect of preventive home visits on the number of falls controlling for covariates.
Results: Random-effects Poisson regression showed a significant increase in the number of falls between baseline and follow-up in the control group (incidence rate ratio 1.96) and a significant decrease in the intervention group (incidence rate ratio 0.63) controlling for age, sex, family status, level of care, and impairment in activities of daily living.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that a preventive home visiting program can be effective in reducing falls in community-dwelling older people.

Keywords: falls, randomized controlled trial, home visits, prevention, evaluation

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