Intended for healthcare professionals


Preventing falls in residential care

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 07 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2952

Linked Research

Multifactorial falls prevention programme compared with usual care in UK care homes for older people

  1. Ngaire Kerse, Joyce Cook chair in ageing well1,
  2. John Parsons, associate professor2,
  3. Joanna Hikaka, research fellow1
  1. 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to: N Kerse n.kerse{at}

Finally, a success story

Older people living in residential care are a vulnerable population with complex health and functional needs, and a multitude of risk factors for falls.1 Falls prevention trials are often not successful,2 probably because of this complexity, combined with the care home context. It can be difficult to design and deliver research interventions and effect change important to the lives of residents and their supporters. Despite these difficulties, the linked paper by Logan and colleagues (doi:10.1136/BMJ-2021-066991) is a well described and presented trial of a complex intervention that was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of falls among older adults living in long term residential care in the United Kingdom.3

Using a cluster randomised design, the authors enrolled 84 care homes (median size 40 beds): 39 were randomised to a mulitfactorial fall prevention programme and 45 to usual care.3 Half of all residents participated, with a mean age of 85. Two thirds of participating residents had dementia and a minority had diabetes, stroke, or coronary heart disease. All but one care home completed 12 months of follow up. More than 81% of residents with falls …

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