Action Seniors! - secondary falls prevention in community-dwelling senior fallers: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial




Liu-Ambrose, Teresa
Davis, Jennifer C
Hsu, Chun Liang
Gomez, Caitlin
Vertes, Kelly
Marra, Carlo
Brasher, Penelope M
Dao, Elizabeth
Khan, Karim M
Cook, Wendy

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Background: Falls are a ‘geriatric giant’ and are the third leading cause of chronic disability worldwide. About 30% of community-dwellers over the age of 65 experience one or more falls every year leading to significant risk for hospitalization, institutionalization, and even death. As the proportion of older adults increases, falls will place an increasing demand and cost on the health care system. Exercise can effectively and efficiently reduce falls. Specifically, the Otago Exercise Program has demonstrated benefit and cost-effectiveness for the primary prevention of falls in four randomized trials of community-dwelling seniors. Although evidence is mounting, few studies have evaluated exercise for secondary falls prevention (that is, preventing falls among those with a significant history of falls). Hence, we propose a randomized controlled trial powered for falls that will, for the first time, assess the efficacy and efficiency of the Otago Exercise Program for secondary falls prevention. Methods/Design: A randomized controlled trial among 344 community-dwelling seniors aged 70 years and older who attend a falls prevention clinic to assess the efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of a 12-month Otago Exercise Program intervention as a secondary falls prevention strategy. Participants randomized to the control group will continue to behave as they did prior to study enrolment. The economic evaluation will examine the incremental costs and benefits generated by using the Otago Exercise Program intervention versus the control. Discussion: The burden of falls is significant. The challenge is to make a difference – to discover effective, ideally cost-effective, interventions that prevent injurious falls that can be readily translated to the population. Our proposal is very practical – the exercise program requires minimal equipment, the physical therapist expertise is widely available, and seniors in Canada and elsewhere have adopted the program and complied with it. Our innovation includes applying the intervention to a targeted high-risk population, aiming to provide the best value for money. Given society’s limited financial resources and the known and increasing burden of falls, there is an urgent need to test this feasible intervention which would be eminently ready for roll out. Trial registration: Protocol Registration System: NCT01029171; registered 7 December 2009.


BioMed Central


Otago Exercise Program, Falls, Resistance Training, Executive Functions, Older Adults


Liu-Ambrose et al.: Action Seniors! - secondary falls prevention in community-dwelling senior fallers: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials (2015) 16:144