Preventing falls in care homes

This research study, 'Prevention of Falls in Cognitively impaired older adults living in residential care', will investigate whether a programme of assessment and specialist interventions will reduce the risk of falling in older people living in care homes. The intervention is designed to address common problems that increase the risk of falls in older people with dementia. Other residents of a participating care home will also be invited to take part.

It is a randomised controlled trial which means that half of the participants will be randomly chosen to receive the intervention while the other half will continue to receive care as usual.

How will the study be carried out?

All participants enrolled into the study will have a 30-minute assessment at the beginning of the study period and six months later. The assessment will include:

  • Tests of walking and balance
  • Memory and mood questions
  • Collection of some information from medical and care records
  • A blood test

The participants who are randomised to receive the intervention will firstly have an assessment and then different recommendations will be made such as:

  • Physiotherapy exercise classes (twice a week for 6 months)
  • Occupational therapy assessment and intervention to promote independence and address behavioural or mood difficulties
  • Assessment by a geriatrician (a specialist in the care of older people)
  • Provision of hip protectors to minimise the risk of injury

Not everyone will be recommended each intervention and participants have the choice not to take part in recommended interventions while continuing to take part in the trial.

Who is eligible to take part in this study?

The study will be conducted in selected care homes in South East London.

Care home residents with severe dementia will be invited to take part in this study. Since these people may not be able to decide for themselves whether to take part, the researchers will seek out a person who knows the potential participant well and can comment on what the potential participant would have thought if they could make the decision.

Other residents of a participating care home will also be invited to take part.

The research team

Principal investigator and responsible for the assessment of intervention participants
Julie Whitney
Postal address: Clinical Age Research Unit, King's College Hospital, London, SE5 9RS
Phone: 020 3299 3420
Email: Julie.whitney@nhs.net

Research co-applicants
Prof S Jackson
Prof M Hurley
Prof F Martin
Dr L Yaguez

Other team members conducting the study
Physiotherapists
Occupational therapist
Geriatrician

This study has been approved by the Camberwell and St Giles Ethics Committee and has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research, research for patient benefit programme:NIHR dementia research.