Fall Prevention for Seniors in Institutional Healthcare Settings

The Research Question:

“What interventions are most effective in preventing falls and fall-related fractures among older adults in institutional healthcare settings?”


In the fall of 2012, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health and Community Services (DHCS) and its four Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) formally asked the Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP) to identify and evaluate the best available research-based evidence on fall prevention for older adults in institutional healthcare settings, such as hospitals and residential care facilities. Though this research topic was initially suggested by authorities at Western Health, consultations with the province’s other RHAs and with the DHCS revealed that the experience of older adults in institutional settings was a high-priority issue for them as well. CHRSP personnel then assembled a project team that included officials from three of the four RHAs, a faculty member from Memorial University’s School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, and the Executive Director of the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Vicky Scott, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and Senior Advisor on Fall and Injury Prevention for the British Columbia Ministry of Health Services, agreed to serve as Academic Team Leader for the project, and Dr. Susan Gillam, Western Health’s Chief Executive Officer, agreed to serve as Health System Leader.

In their initial description of the topic, Western Health officials framed the issue as follows:

“According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, falls were the cause of 57% of all injury related hospitalizations, and more than three quarters of all in-hospital deaths in those admitted for an injury. Accreditation Canada has identified a fall prevention strategy as a Required Organizational Practice with the goal to reduce the risk of injuries resulting from falls. Western Health has committed significant resources to the continued spread of a fall prevention program to reduce the number of falls as well as the severity of injuries resulting from falls. Quality and Risk Management leadership would use the results of this research to improve client/client outcomes and to enhance program delivery.”

At an initial project meeting, team members confirmed that the requested synthesis should focus exclusively on fall prevention for older adults in institutional – as opposed to community – settings. The synthesis ultimately included reviews of studies conducted in a range of institutional healthcare settings, including long-term, residential, intermediate, acute and sub-acute care facilities.

The CHRSP Project Team:

  • Dr. Vicky Scott (Academic Team Leader), Senior Advisor on Fall and Injury Prevention, BC Ministry of Health Services
  • Dr. Susan Gillam (Health Systems Expert), Chief Executive Officer, Western Regional Health Authority
  • Patricia Moores, Clinical Occupational Therapist, Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority
  • Lisa Hoddinott, Vice President, Quality Management and Research, Western Regional Health Authority
  • Kelli O’Brien, Vice President, Long Term Care and Rural Health, Western Regional Health Authority
  • Donna Hicks, Regional Director of Quality and Risk Management, Western Regional Health Authority
  • Kathy Winsor, Regional Patient Safety Officer, Central Regional Health Authority
  • Jenesta Holloway, Community Health Liaison Nurse, Central Regional Health Authority
  • Dr. Jeanette Byrne, Assistant Professor, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University
  • Darlene Ricketts, RN, Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum (CFPC) Facilitator/Trainer
  • Kelly Heisz, Executive Director, Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Dr. Stephen Bornstein, Director, NLCAHR
  • Stephanie O’Brien, Research Assistant, NLCAHR
  • Rob Kean, Research Officer, NLCAHR

Report Dissemination Event:

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 2:00pm to 4:00pm

NLCAHR Boardroom, 95 Bonaventure Avenue, Suite 300

Videoconferencing available

RSVP: Rochelle.Baker@med.mun.ca