BACKGROUND - Fall-related injuries, a major public health problem in long-term care, may be reduced by interventions that improve safety practices. Previous studies have shown that safety practice interventions can reduce falls; however, in long-term care these have relied heavily on external funding and staff. The aim of this study was to test whether a training program in safety practices for staff could reduce fall-related injuries in long-term care facilities.
METHODS - A cluster randomization clinical trial with 112 qualifying facilities and 10,558 study residents 65 years or older and not bedridden. The intervention was an intensive 2-day safety training program with 12-month follow-up. The training program targeted living space and personal safety; wheelchairs, canes, and walkers; psychotropic medication use; and transferring and ambulation. The main outcome measure was serious fall-related injuries during the follow-up period.
RESULTS - There was no difference in injury occurrence between the intervention and control facilities (adjusted rate ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-1.16). For residents with a prior fall in facilities with the best program compliance, there was a nonsignificant trend toward fewer injuries in the intervention group (adjusted rate ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-1.10).
CONCLUSION - More intensive interventions are required to prevent fall-related injuries in long-term care facilities.