New Study Will Try to Prevent Injuries from Falls

How much would it be worth to prevent the often catastrophic injuries incurred when seniors fall? How much would it be worth to also prevent the loss of independence, reduction of quality of life, and impact on caregivers that occur when a senior is hurt from a fall?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) -- an independent non-profit organization dedicated to funding research that results in evidence-based information for patients, caregivers and clinicians - thinks preventing falls would be worth a lot. PCORI is investing up to $30 million in a partnership with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging (NIA) to create an intervention study to prevent injuries from falls in older adults.

In a news announcement, the organizations said, "The intent of this collaborative project is to evaluate a comprehensive, multi-factorial approach to preventing a frequent and often debilitating type of injury among the fast-growing population of older adults. There is extensive evidence that older people who have previously fallen have a significant risk of falling again. Patients, caregivers and clinicians all want to know the best way to address this problem, but there is uncertainty about the best prevention strategy."

PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., MPH, says falling is a problem that affects millions of seniors, their families and caregivers, and their clinicians.

He said he hopes the new partnership would provide "a template for future collaborations with the National Institutes of Health and other funders to conduct comparative effectiveness studies that focus on the needs, concerns and questions most important to patients."

"Injuries from falls are a major cause of loss of independence for older people," added NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D., "This is a significant health problem. The partnership with PCORI brings the clinical and patient communities together with experts in biomedical research, which will enable us to develop and support a large clinical trial with outcomes that can be translated and implemented in a real-world setting."

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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