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June 4, 2019

Falls in Older Adults: Prevention, Mortality, and Costs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute on Aging, Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, Gainesville
JAMA. 2019;321(21):2080-2081. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.6569

In this issue of JAMA, Liu-Ambrose and colleagues report the results of a randomized clinical trial testing the ability of a home-based exercise program to prevent falls in older persons presenting for treatment after a prior fall.1 Over a mean follow-up time of 338 days (0.92 years), those randomized to the exercise group experienced a significantly lower number of self-reported falls (236 falls among 172 participants) compared with those in the usual care group (366 falls among 172 participants). The estimated incidence rates of falls per person-year were 1.4 in the exercise group vs 2.1 in the usual care group (absolute difference, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.04-1.78), suggesting that just 1.2 participants had to be treated per year to prevent 1 fall event. However, the study did not show differences in the number of participants who experienced 1 or more falls (105 participants in the exercise group vs 104 in the usual care group) or those who experienced fall-related fractures (15 in the exercise group vs 12 in the usual care group).