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  • Author: Harriet G. Williams x
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Harriet G. Williams and Gerhild Ullmann

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.

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Harriet G. Williams and Jeanmarie R. Burke

A conditioned patellar tendon reflex paradigm was used to study the contributions of crossed spinal and supraspinal inputs to the output of the alpha motoneuron pool in children with and without developmental coordination disorders. The basic patellar tendon reflex response was exaggerated in children with developmental coordination disorders. Crossed spinal and supraspinal influences on the excitability of the alpha motoneuron pool were similar in both groups of children. However, there was evidence of exaggerated crossed spinal and supraspinal inputs onto the alpha motoneuron pool in individual children with developmental coordination disorder.

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Laura S. Ho, Harriet G. Williams and Emily A.W. Hardwick

The study’s objective was to examine the health status, physical activity behaviors, and performance-based functional abilities of individuals classified as being at high or low risk for frailty and to determine which of these characteristics discriminates between the 2 groups. Participants were 78 community-dwelling individuals with an average age of 74 years; 37 were categorized as being at high risk and 42 at low risk for frailty. Logistic-regression analysis indicated that individuals classified as being at high risk for frailty were more likely to have visited the doctor more than 3 times in the past year, experienced a cardiac event, taken more than 4 medications a day, and participated in little or no physical activity. High-risk individuals were more likely to have poor balance, difficulty with mobility, decreased range of motion, poor unimanual dexterity, and difficulty performing activities of daily living than were those classified as being at low risk for frailty.