A $30 million, 5-year project will use large-scale clinical trials to prevent falls in older adults and create a “cohesive intervention” for falls reduction. The project, which was announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), will study more than 6,000 adults aged 75 years and older at 10 trial sites across the country.

The study is being led by researchers from Harvard, Yale, and the University of California, Los Angeles medical schools, and will include more than 100 researchers. The first-year funding for the project of $7.6 million was awarded on June 1 from the NIH/PCORI Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership, according to a news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

The first year of the study is a pilot phase in which researchers will evaluate elements of the proposed intervention with smaller numbers of participants. After the first year and pending approval by NIH and PCORI, the full trial will begin and last for 18 months. Participants will be followed for up to 3 years, as indicated on the APTA news release.

Shalander Bhasin, MD, one of the three leaders of the study, explains, “The trial will focus on clinical practice redesign, while also using interventions tailored to individuals. The goal is to recognize and overcome challenges in implementing falls injury prevention strategies in diverse health systems.”

To view the official NIH news release, visit www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2014/nia-04.htm.

[Sources: APTA, National Institutes of Health]