Prevention Research Initiatives – Fall Prevention in Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment

Fall Prevention in Community-Dwelling Adults with Cognitive Impairment | A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis

Co-Principal Investigators:  Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid, McMaster University and the McMaster Aging, Community and Health Research Unit and Dr. Diana Sherifali, McMaster University and the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis

About this study: Fall prevention interventions are complex and there has been limited literature which summarizes the best strategies and interventions to prevent or mitigate falls in community-dwelling adults with cognitive impairment. The evidence-based guidelines that do exist for fall prevention are mostly clinical in nature and it is unknown the applicability of these guidelines in the community setting and in adults with cognitive impairment. It has become clear from stakeholders such as clinicians and practitioners, that there is a need to better translate research into practice for this unique population. To address these gaps in research and practice, the team of researchers will conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis with the following two objectives:
  1. Synthesize the effectiveness of primary and secondary fall prevention interventions in community-living adults (50+ years) with mild to moderate cognitive impairment.
  2. Summarize the strategies that support successful feasibility and scalability of fall prevention programs.

Improving Mobility and Preventing Falls: Evaluation of a Novel Assessment Tool for Adults with Dementia Using Mobility Aids

Principal investigator: Dr. Susan Hunter, Associate Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Western Ontario

About this study:
The prescription of a mobility aid, such as a walker, is a common treatment given to people with balance and walking problems as it provides physical support and confidence to allow greater participation in society. Yet, a completely opposite effect to these intended benefits occurs in people with dementia: the use of a mobility aid triples the risk of falling. The aim of the research is to evaluate an assessment tool across a range of healthcare settings and develop clinical practice guidelines for the prescription, training and ongoing evaluation of mobility aid use in people with dementia. The use of mobility aids currently triples the risk of falling in older adults with dementia. A 3-part webinar series that will be available on the Loop platform will introduce the screening tool and related implementation guidelines while featuring the ongoing work and research of Dr. Hunter. The first webinar took place on February 27, 2020 and covered the epidemiology and risk factors for falls in people with dementia and mobility aids as a falls risk factor in people with dementia. The second webinar took place on May 28, 2020 and covered the development, reliability and validity of the Safe Use of Mobility Aid Checklist (SUMAC) for 4-wheeled walker use in people in dementia and the application of the SUMAC to case scenarios. The next webinar is scheduled to take place in Spring 2021.