OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of a multifactorial fall prevention program on falls and to identify the subgroups that benefit the most.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Community-dwelling subjects who had fallen at least once during the previous 12 months.
PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred ninety-one subjects randomized into intervention (IG) (n=293) and control (CG) (n=298) groups.
INTERVENTION: A multifactorial 12-month fall prevention program.
MEASUREMENTS: Incidence of falls.
RESULTS: The intervention did not reduce the incidence of falls overall (incidence rate ratio (IRR) for IG vs CG=0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.72–1.19). In subgroup analyses, significant interactions between subgroups and groups (IG and CG) were found for depressive symptoms (P=.006), number of falls during the previous 12 months (P=.003), and self-perceived risk of falling (P=.045). The incidence of falls decreased in subjects with a higher number of depressive symptoms (IRR=0.50, 95% CI=0.28–0.88), whereas it increased in those with a lower number of depressive symptoms (IRR=1.20, 95% CI=0.92–1.57). The incidence of falls decreased also in those with at least three previous falls (IRR=0.59, 95% CI=0.38–0.91) compared to those with one or two previous falls (IRR=1.28, 95% CI=0.95–1.72). The intervention was also more effective in subjects with high self-perceived risk of falling (IRR=0.77, 95% CI=0.55–1.06) than in those with low self-perceived risk (IRR=1.28, 95% CI=0.88–1.86).
CONCLUSION: The program was not effective in reducing falls in the total sample of community-dwelling subjects with a history of falling, but the incidence of falls decreased in participants with a higher number of depressive symptoms and in those with at least three falls.