An Economic Evaluation of Preventing Falls Using a New Exercise Program in Institutionalized Elderly

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Falls in the elderly represent a public health crisis. Effective prevention programs need to conduct economic analyses. The Move With Balance program showed a 65% reduction in falls in institutionalized elderly. Methods: We evaluated the return on investment (ROI) of Move With Balance. We calculated the ROI for 2 situations: first, using data from the current study (N = 27); second, extrapolating the data to an “intended” annual program (N = 45) where training costs can be spread over 6 years. Results: The program costs for the current study was $11,143. Based on an efficacy rate of 65%, we estimated that 13 falls were averted among the 21 participants in the treatment group. At a cost of $1440/fall, total averted cost of falls was $18,720. The ROI was 1.7:1 for a 10-week period. Program effects persisted for at least 6 months. Extrapolating the current program costs and fall rates to include classes for 45 people twice a year, the annual program costs would be $27,217. Total annual averted cost of falls would be $208,594. The annual ROI in this group would be 7.6:1. Conclusions: Move With Balance not only is efficacious in reducing falls in institutionalized elderly but also has a positive ROI.

Mills, Sadler, and Pang are with the Hawaii State Dept of Health, Maui District Health Office, Wailuku, Maui, HI. Peterson is with the Move With Balance, Paia, HI.

Mills (kristin.mills@doh.hawaii.gov) is corresponding author.
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