Weekly Research Highlight in Fall Prevention

This weekly blog post aims to highlight articles published during the week regarding fall prevention. This week we take a look at fall related anxiety and locomotion in older adults and a multifactorial fall prevention program for older people after stroke.

Abstracts for these studies can be found here

Conscious Movement Processing, Fall-Related Anxiety, and the Visuomotor Control of Locomotion in Older Adults
Ellmers TJ, Cocks AJ, Kal EC, Young WR. J. Gerontol. B Psychol. Sci. Soc. Sci. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.
DOI 10.1093/geronb/gbaa081 PMID 32761087
Older adults may consciously process walking movements in an attempt to avoid falling, however, in some circumstances this may increase stepping variability and errors and disrupt postural stability. It may also direct attention away from environment while walking. A common trigger for consious movement processing in older adults is fall-related anxiety. This study aimed to (a) confirm that previously observed anxiety-related changes in visual search behavior occur in conjunction with increased self-reported conscious movement processing and (b) manipulate conscious movement processing (independent from fall-related anxiety) to test for a causal link between this movement strategy and altered visual search. (Ellmers et al. 2020)
Evaluating a Novel Multifactorial Falls Prevention Activity Programme for Community-Dwelling Older People After Stroke: A Mixed-Method Feasibility Study
Koh JSG, Hill AM, Hill KD, Etherton-Beer C, Francis-Coad J, Bell E, Bainbridge L, de Jong LD. Clin. Interv. Aging 2020; 15: 1099-1112.
DOI 10.2147/CIA.S251516 PMID 32764897
Multifactorial approaches to fall prevention can reduce the rate of falls in the general older population, however, this is an underexplored area in patients after stroke. While exercise is important for improving balance capacity in people after stroke other areas such as fall prevention education, home hazard modifications and safe landing techniques may also help reduce fear of falling and injurious falls. Koh et al. developed a program that aimed to increase the participants’ falls prevention knowledge, improve their balance and strength, evaluate their home falls hazards, and gain skills in how to land safely in case of a fall, move on the floor and get up again. This feasibility trial of community-dwelling older people after stroke was implemented to determine the participants’ and physiotherapists’ experiences regarding the acceptability, implementation, and practicality of the programme and to test limited efficacy by exploring how participating impacted on the participants’ health-related quality of life in terms of their daily lived experience regarding physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.