Researchers Commit $30 Million to Fall Prevention Study

Fall-related injuries continue to plague the aging population, but a new five-year, $30 million study is in the works to provide seniors with plans to help prevent one of the most common problems affecting them. 

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) will conduct a nationwide study of the “effectiveness of a multi-pronged strategy that includes deploying nurses or nurse practitioners trained as ‘falls care managers.’” 

Roughly one in every three adults over age 65 suffer moderate to severe injuries from falls, which can lead to declines in health and loss of independence, the release states. 

“One of the keys to innovative scientific research is the ability to collaborate in creative and dynamic ways,” NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D., stated in the release. “This unique collaboration between NIH and PCORI builds on the strengths of our respective organizations. We hope this partnership will translate into real strides in preventing falls and their resulting injuries in older people.”  

Some of the country’s leading geriatric experts will spearhead the study in collaboration with seniors and family caregivers. Falls care managers will develop and deliver evidence-based prevention plans individually tailored to each of the 6,000 adults in the trial, monitoring the patients’ outcomes and coordinating with their primary care providers. The rate of fall-related injuries among the study’s participants will then be compared to the injury rate among similar patients who receive only risk assessments and educational material from physicians. 

The patient-centered approach aims to reduce the rates of fall-related injuries among non-institutionalized seniors. 

“We cannot eliminate falls altogether, but we know that many fall-related injuries are preventable through good, evidence-based interventions,” PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H., stated in the release. “What’s lacking is evidence on the optimal combination of interventions to meet patients’ individual needs and circumstances and how best to deliver tailored plans. 

Written by Emily Study

Emily Study