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Implementation and evaluation of a fall risk screening strategy among frail older adults for the primary care setting: a study protocol.

Meekes, W.M.A., Leemrijse, C.J., Korevaar, J.C., Henquet, J.M.A.E. Implementation and evaluation of a fall risk screening strategy among frail older adults for the primary care setting: a study protocol. Clinical Interventions in Aging: 2020, 15, 1625-1636
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Background
Falls are an increasing problem among older people. There are several evidence-based interventions available to prevent falls. However, these are not always well implemented in the primary care setting. General practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact for health issues, making them the designated professionals for providing falls prevention. Because GPs are often unaware which patients have a high fall risk and patients themselves do not always know they have a high fall risk, this study aims to evaluate the implementation of a targeted fall risk screening strategy among independently living, frail older people in the primary care setting.

Materials and methods
The targeted fall risk screening strategy used in this study consists of tools for screening high fall risk and for identifying the underlying cause(s) of the high fall risk, an accredited training course in falls prevention for professionals, and service provision by certified physio- and exercise therapists who are able to offer evidence-based falls prevention interventions. This targeted fall risk screening strategy will be implemented in the primary care setting and evaluated at the level of the GP practice and at the level of the patient by using the RE-AIM model of Glasgow et al. In a pre-posttest design, data will be collected of the total number of frail older people who are screened, referred and enrolled for fall-preventive care. Furthermore, barriers and facilitators of the implementation of the fall risk screening strategy will be identified by conducting focus groups and interviews with the care providers and frail older patients. Additionally, the influence of the falls prevention interventions on frail older patients will be evaluated by using a pre-posttest design with a 12-month follow-up period during which data are collected regarding patients' stability, mobility, strength, balance, self-efficacy, health status, and daily activities.