Falls are the leading cause of injury in adults aged 65 or older. In a study published in the May 29 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers reviewed more than 50 clinical trials to determine the benefits and harms of various primary care interventions to prevent falls in community-dwelling older adults.
They found good evidence that exercise and vitamin D supplementation were effective at reducing falls, and were associated with few harms. Therefore, physicians should prescribe both to their elderly patients.
Multifactorial assessment and management interventions, medication assessment and withdrawal, home hazard modification, and behavioral counseling were also assessed. Researchers did not find convincing evidence that providing those interventions to all older adults reduces falls. As such, the Task Force does not recommend that physicians automatically perform an in-depth multifactorial risk assessment for falls in all elderly patients. Physicians should consider the individual patient’s history of falls, comorbid conditions and patient values before making a decision.