Editorials

Preventing falls in elderly people living in hospitals and care homes

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39084.388553.80 (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:53
  1. Ian D Cameron, professor of rehabilitation medicine (ianc@mail.usyd.edu.au)1,
  2. Susan Kurrle, associate professor in health care of older people2
  1. 1Rehabilitation Studies Unit, University of Sydney, Ryde, NSW 2112, Australia
  2. 2University of Sydney, Hornsby, NSW 2077, Australia

    Inconclusive evidence means uncertainty remains

    Falls are common in elderly people living in institutions, and they often cause serious injuries such as hip fracture.1 2 The clinical and economic costs of such injuries are high,3 and numerous guidelines have been developed to reduce falls and related injuries. A variety of approaches have been used in different countries and it is not known whether these have been effective. Current literature suggests that some interventions may be effective, based on lower levels of evidence, and these have been combined into multifactorial interventions in many studies.4 In this week's BMJ a systematic review by Oliver and colleagues evaluates interventions to prevent falls and fractures in people living in hospitals and care homes.5

    It is important to review the effectiveness of interventions in these settings as most studies of falls have been conducted in the community.6 People in institutional settings have different risk profiles to those living in the community because their activity …

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