New patient-centered strategies to be tested in large, multisite trial.
Each year, one in three adults aged 65 or older falls, and a third of these falls result in moderate to severe injuries that can lead to further declines in health and a loss of independence. Thousands of older adults also die every year from such falls.
To find effective, evidence-based strategies to address the personal and public health burden of these falls, the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) have joined together to support a clinical trial to test individually tailored interventions to prevent fall-related injuries. The award, made by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging and funded by PCORI as part of the two organizations’ Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership, is expected to total $30 million over the five-year project.
The trial will be led by Dr. David Reuben of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Dr. Shalender Bhasin of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Thomas Gill of Yale School of Medicine. The team will include more than 100 researchers, stakeholders and patients and their representatives at 10 clinical health system sites across the country. First-year funding of $7.6 million was awarded on June 1.
“For too long, we have known what care processes are needed to reduce the risk of injuries due to falls. However, we haven’t been able to get these care processes done in practice,” said Reuben, chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics. “This study will develop and test a new approach to ensure that patients at risk of falling are participants in determining what falls-prevention care is right for them and ensuring that they get that care.”
The study’s approach differs from others in that it will integrate proven fall-reduction strategies into a cohesive intervention that can be adopted by many health care systems.
“This collaboration with PCORI exemplifies our efforts to go beyond the norms to solve the nation’s health issues,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the NIH. “The problems we face are complex and therefore require thoughtful and complex solutions. I am hopeful this initiative will greatly improve the lives of those most at risk for falls.”