Category Archives: Research

Recent Publications in falls prevention

Yoga-based exercise improves balance and mobility in people aged 60 and over: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Age and Ageing 2016; 0: 1–9

Objective: one-third of community-dwelling older adults fall annually. Exercise that challenges balance is proven to prevent falls. We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis to determine the impact of yoga-based exercise on balance and physical mobility in people aged 60+ years.
Methods: searches for relevant trials were conducted on the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) from inception to February 2015. Trials were included if they evaluated the effect of physical yoga (excluding meditation and breathing exercises alone) on balance in people aged 60+ years. We extracted data on balance and the secondary outcome of physical mobility. Standardised mean differences and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using random-effects models. Methodological quality of trials was assessed using the 10-point Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) Scale. Results: six trials of relatively high methodological quality, totalling 307 participants, were identified and had data that could be included in a meta-analysis. Overall, yoga interventions had a small effect on balance performance (Hedges’ g = 0.40, 95% CI 0.15–0.65, 6 trials) and a medium effect on physical mobility (Hedges’ g = 0.50, 95% CI 0.06–0.95, 3 trials).
Conclusion: yoga interventions resulted in small improvements in balance and medium improvements in physical mobility in people aged 60+ years. Further research is required to determine whether yoga-related improvements in balance and mobility translate to prevention of falls in older people.

Hearing Loss and Falls: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Nicole Tin-Lok Jiam, BA; Carol Li, MD; Yuri Agrawal, MD, MPH
Laryngoscope 00: Month 2015

Background: Falls are a devastating condition in older individuals. Identifying potentially modifiable risk factors such as hearing loss would provide a substantial public health benefit.
Objective: To evaluate the current evidence for an association between hearing loss and falls risk.
Data Sources: A systematic search of PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases was performed in July 2014.
Study Eligibility: Studies were eligible for inclusion if they were published in the peer-reviewed literature. All studies used a predetermined definition of hearing loss. Main outcomes and measurements were fall hospitalization records or selfreports of falls by structured interview or validated questionnaires.
Study Appraisal and Synthesis: Two investigators independently reviewed the literature related to hearing loss, falls, and older adults. We pooled effect sizes from across the studies and performed a meta-analysis to compute an overall effect size.
Results and Limitations: Twelve eligible studies were identified. The odds of falling were 2.39 times greater among older adults with hearing loss than older adults with normal hearing (pooled odds ratio 2.39, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.11-2.68). In sensitivity analyses, we restricted the meta-analysis to studies where hearing loss was audiometrically defined (N 5 6) and observed hearing loss to be associated with a 69% increase in the odds of falling (pooled odds ratio 1.69, 95% CI: 1.18-2.19). When we further limited to studies that also performed multivariate regression analyses (N 5 4), the overall effect size did not appreciably change (pooled odds ratio 1.72, 95% CI: 1.07-2.37). We observed a potential positive publication bias in the literature. Limitations of the systematic review and meta-analysis are the cross-sectional designs of most studies and the heterogeneity across studies (Q 5 631, P < .05, I2 5 98.1%).
Conclusions and Relevance: In the published literature, hearing loss is associated with a significantly increased odds of falling in older adults. These findings need to be interpreted in light of the potential for positive publication bias in the literature on this topic.

Updating the Evidence for Physical Activity: Summative Reviews of the Epidemiological Evidence, Prevalence, and Interventions to Promote “Active Aging”
Adrian Bauman, MD, MPH, PhD, Dafna Merom, PhD, Fiona C. Bull, PhD, David M. Buchner, MD, MPH, and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh, MD
Gerontologist, 2016, Vol. 56, No. S2, S268–S280

Purpose of the Study: There is a global imperative to increase awareness of the emerging evidence on physical activity (PA) among older adults. “Healthy aging” has traditionally focused on preventing chronic disease, but greater efforts are required to reduce frailty and dependency and to maintain independent physical and cognitive function and mental health and well-being.
Design and Methods: This integrated review updates the epidemiological data on PA, summarizes the existing evidencebased PA guidelines, describes the global magnitude of inactivity, and finally describes the rationale for action. The first section updates the epidemiological evidence for reduced cardiometabolic risk, reduced risks of falls, the burgeoning new evidence on improved cognitive function and functional capacity, and reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and dementia.
This is followed by a summary of population prevalence studies among older adults. Finally, we present a “review of reviews” of PA interventions delivered from community or population settings, followed by a consideration of interventions among the “oldest-old,” where efforts are needed to increase resistance (strength) training and balance.
Results: This review identifies the global importance of considering “active aging” beyond the established benefits attributed to noncommunicable disease prevention alone.
Implications: Innovative population-level efforts are required to address physical inactivity, prevent loss of muscle strength, and maintain balance in older adults. Specific investment in healthy aging requires global policy support from the World Health Organization and is implemented at the national and regional levels, in order to reduce the burden of disease and disability among older adults.

Research Groups

Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care (ACEBAC) – La Trobe University:

Centre for Research Excellence in Patient Safety (CRE-PS)– Monash University:

Falls Prevention Research Unit, Monash Injury Research Institute

Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre (FBIRC), Neuroscience Research Australia – University of NSW:

National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), University of Melbourne:

The Joanna Briggs Institute:

National Injury Surveillance Unit (NISU)– Flinders University, Adelaide:

Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit:

Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors (TIPS) – Simon Fraser University (Canada):

Centre for Hip Health and Mobility – University of British Columbia (Canada):

Current Australian and New Zealand research projects in the area of falls prevention

This page provides a list of current Australian and New Zealand research projects in the area of falls prevention.

If you would like to list another project, please contact

Current clinical trials in Australia and New Zealand evaluating falls/fall injury outcomes

Study Title Clinical Trial Registration link
RESPOND—A patient-centred program to prevent secondary falls in older people presenting to the emergency department (ED) with a fall: a multi-centre randomised controlled trial
A randomised controlled trial of low-dose aspirin for the prevention of fractures in healthy older people: the ASPREE-Fracture sub-study
Balance Exercise and Strength Training (BEST) program for older people living at home
Does training heath professional students on hospital placements with falls prevention simulation reduce inpatient falls?
Tailored Patient Education for Preventing Falls after Hospital Discharge
The ROC Study: A Multi-Centered, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial comparing the effectiveness of an innovative and comprehensive new eye care model with usual care for individuals in RAC Facilities
A cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an integrated general practice fall prevention process compared with usual care on GP practice change and the rate of falls in older people residing in the community
Standing Tall – A home-based exercise program using mobile technology for preventing falls in older people
Does nutrition and exercise reduce falls and prevent frailty in pre-frail older adults in New Zealand?
Active ageing: a novel dynamic exercise initiative for older people to improve health and well-being
A night-lighting intervention to reduce inpatient falls: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial
Can a tailored exercise and home hazard reduction program (i-FOCIS) reduce the rate of falls in community dwelling older people with cognitive impairment or dementia? A Randomised control Trial
Evaluation of the Fun ‘n Fitness Exercise Program (Falls Prevention Program)
A randomised trial to evaluate the effect of an education program on fall prevention knowledge and the prescription of exercises shown to prevent falls in older people
iStoppFalls – Information and communication technologies (ICT) based system to predict and prevent falls
Can interventions that aim to promote physical activity and prevent falls be combined successfully to improve mobility and independence in older age?
Is running re-education group more effective than high-level balance group in reducing falls in the elderly living in the community?
Home-based, tailored intervention for reducing falls after stroke: the Falls After Stroke Trial (FAST)
CHERISH Collaborative for Hospitalised Elders: Reducing the Impact of Stays in Hospital
Whole body vibration for osteoporosis: Shaking up treatment options
Combatting Frailty in Older Men with multifaceted individually tailored intervention including exercise, diet and behaviour
Feasibility study of the Drug Burden Index with Home Medicine Review
Clinical trial of a take-home rehabilitation device for vestibular patients
A pragmatic approach to developing falls prevention interventions in a hospital setting
An exercise and education-based program for the prevention of falls in older people after discharge from hospital following admission as a result of a fall
Is it feasible to deliver a training program to reduce falls risk in adults 65 years and over with cognitive impairment and high-level gait disorders?
Effect of a physical activity promotion and fall prevention plan on physical activity and falls in community-dwelling people aged 60+
Efficacy of the installation of safety features to access steps to homes in Wellington and New Plymouth
Understanding the Falls Experience in People with Intellectual Disability in Western Australia
Tailored Patient Education for Preventing Falls after Hospital Discharge

Other Projects


The Iron Bark Project 2014-2016

Falls prevention in older Aboriginal people in NSW. Through the analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health data, the nature of risk factors leading to falls and the burden of resulting injury will be investigated and compared to that of the general Australian population.Working together with communities and Aboriginal service providers, appropriate and effective falls prevention programs will be developed for testing in Aboriginal health services and among older Aboriginal people in other community settings. The goal of the project is to present an effective and culturally appropriate falls prevention program for integration into existing Aboriginal chronic care services.

The George Institute for Global Health, NSW Health

Contact: Caroline Lukaszyk