The prevention of injury associated with falls in older people is a public health target in many countries around the world. Although there is good evidence that interventions such as multifactorial fall prevention and individually prescribed exercise are effective in reducing falls, the effect on serious injury rates is unclear.1,2 Historically, trials have not been adequately powered to detect injury endpoints, and variations in case definition across trials have hindered meta-analysis.1 It is possible that fall-prevention strategies have limited effect on falls that result in injuries or are ineffective in populations who are at a higher risk of injury. Further research is required to determine whether fall-prevention interventions can reduce serious injuries.
Prevention of Falls Network Europe (ProFaNE) is a collaborative project to reduce the burden of fall injury in older people through excellence in research and promotion of best practice (http://www.profane.eu.org). The European Commission funds the network, which links clinicians, members of the public, and researchers worldwide. The aims are to identify major gaps in knowledge in fall injury prevention and to facilitate the collaboration necessary for large-scale clinical research activity, including clinical trials, comparative research, and prospective meta-analysis. Work is being undertaken in a 4-year program. As a first step, the development of a common set of outcome definitions and measures for future trials or meta-analysis was considered.