Article

Fall incidence in frail older women after individualized visual feedback-based balance training.

Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35 (Viveca), FI-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland.
Gerontology (Impact Factor: 2.68). 01/2004; 50(6):411-6. DOI: 10.1159/000080180
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The knowledge concerning balance training actually lowering fall rates among frail older persons is limited.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of a 4-week individualized visual feedback-based balance training on the fall incidence during 1-year follow-up among frail older women living in residential care.
Twenty-seven older women from 2 residential care homes were randomized into exercise (n = 20) and control (n = 7) groups. Balance measurements were carried out before and after a 4-week training period and falls were monitored by monthly diaries for 1 year. An interview about fear of falling and physical activity was completed before and after the intervention and after the 1-year follow-up.
A positive effect of balance training on fall incidence was found. A dynamic Poisson regression model showed that during the follow-up the monthly risk of falling was decreased in the exercise group compared to controls (risk ratio 0.398, 95% CI 0.174-0.911, p = 0.029). In addition, the exercise group reported a reduced fear of falling and increased physical activity after a training period but these changes declined during the follow-up period.
Individualized visual feedback-based balance training was shown to be a promising method for fall prevention among frail older women. High compliance (97.5%) with the training program showed that carefully targeted training programs can be carried out among older people with health limitations.

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Search methods We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register (July 2013), the Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2013, Issue 7), MEDLINE (1946 to July Week 3 2013), EMBASE (1980 to 2013 Week 30), CINAHL (1982 to July 2013), PsycINFO (1967 to August 2013), AMED (1985 to August 2013), the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (accessed 7 August 2013) and Current Controlled Trials (accessed 7 August 2013). We applied no language restrictions. We handsearched reference lists and consulted experts. Selection criteria We included randomised and quasi-randomised trials that recruited community-dwelling people (where the majority were aged 65 and over) and were not restricted to specific medical conditions (e.g. stroke, hip fracture). We included trials that evaluated exercise interventions compared with no intervention or a non-exercise intervention (e.g. social visits), and that measured fear of falling. Exercise interventions were varied; for example, they could be 'prescriptions' or recommendations, group-based or individual, supervised or unsupervised. Data collection and analysis Pairs of review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion, assessed the risk of bias in the studies and extracted data. We combined effect sizes across studies using the fixed-effect model, with the random-effect model used where significant statistical heterogeneity was present. We estimated risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous outcomes and incidence rate ratios (IRR) for rate outcomes. We estimated mean differences (MD) where studies used the same continuous measures and standardised mean differences (SMD) where different measures or different formats of the same measure were used. Where possible, we performed various, usually prespecified, sensitivity and subgroup analyses. 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Using GRADE criteria, we judged the quality of evidence to be 'low' for fear of falling immediately post intervention and 'very low' for fear of falling at short or long-term follow-up and all other outcomes. Exercise interventions were associated with a small to moderate reduction in fear of falling immediately post intervention (SMD 0.37 favouring exercise, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18 to 0.56; 24 studies; 1692 participants, low quality evidence). Pooled effect sizes did not differ significantly between the different scales used to measure fear of falling. Although none of the sensitivity analyses changed the direction of effect, the greatest reduction in the size of the effect was on removal of an extreme outlier study with 73 participants (SMD 0.24 favouring exercise, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.36). None of our subgroup analyses provided robust evidence of differences in effect in terms of either the study primary aim (reduction of fear of falling or other aim), the study population (recruitment on the basis of increased falls risk or not), the characteristics of the study exercise intervention or the study control intervention (no treatment or alternative intervention). However, there was some weak evidence of a smaller effect, which included no reduction, of exercise when compared with an alternative control. There was very low quality evidence that exercise interventions may be associated with a small reduction in fear of falling up to six months post intervention (SMD 0.17, 95% CI -0.05 to 0.38; four studies, 356 participants) and more than six months post intervention (SMD 0.20, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.41; three studies, 386 participants). 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