Development of a Community-Based Fall Prevention Program: Stay in Balance

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Falls and fall-related injuries are critical issues for older adults; evidence indicates that multidimensional interventions that address modifiable risk factors can be successful in reducing falls. Few evidence-based fall prevention interventions exist due, in part, to complex issues associated with development and implementation. There is a need for a variety of such programs from which older adults may choose. We describe steps, outcomes, and issues involved in developing/implementing an evidenced-based fall prevention program in community settings.

Methods:

The Stay In Balance program (SIB), developed by a team of professionals, local service providers and active older adults, was carried out with total of 135 older adults in several steps: developing objectives and program content, laboratory-based randomized controlled trial (RCT), pilot program in the community, community-based RCT, and implementation at 2 community sites.

Results:

Each step in development provided useful and different insights into needed changes in program content, equipment, support materials, training, and appropriate outcome measures.

Conclusion:

Development of an evidenced-based fall prevention program requires a long term commitment on the part of all partners, University personnel, local service providers, and older adult participants; funding is also critical.

The authors are with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.