Editorials

Preventing falls in elderly people

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7441.653 (Published 18 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:653
  1. Lesley Gillespie, research fellow (ldg2@york.ac.uk)
  1. Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO10 5DD

    We need to target interventions at people most likely to benefit from them

    In 1960 Sheldon described the literature on falling as “meagre.”w1 Now so much has been published on the topic that it is difficult to make sense of the evidence and identify clear messages for policy and practice. We know that more than 30% of people aged 65 or older living in the community fall each year, many fall more than once, andthe risk of falling increases with age.1 2 Although only 3-10% of these falls result in serious injury, they have serious implications for healthcare resources. What do we know about how to prevent falls?

    Over 60 randomised controlled trials of interventions to prevent falling have now been published. This issue contains a systematic review of interventions for the prevention of falling (p 680).3 Chang et al searched up to 2002 and include 40 trials; a further six trials were identified after they had completed their analysis. A Cochrane review, updatedin July 2003 (for which the author is …

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