Article Text

How to manage falls in community dwelling older adults: a review of the evidence
  1. Claire McKay,
  2. Kathryn E Anderson
  1. Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Claire McKay, Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Royal Victoria Hospital, 13 Craigleith Road Edinburgh EH4 2DN, UK; claire_mckay1{at}


Recurrent falls in older people are one of the leading causes of hospital admission. There is evidence available for identifying many of those at risk and in whom prevention strategies should be targeted. This review discusses the evidence behind the guidelines and highlights the potential benefits for older people. The key features of prevention include multidisciplinary assessment, by experienced individuals, followed by targeted multifactorial interventions. The impact depends on individual factors such as cognitive impairment and on the setting in which they are used. Screening is feasible but cost implications and benefits are unclear, as are the benefits in terms of injury and fracture prevention. It is known that some of the strongest interventions include individually tailored exercise programmes in cognitively intact individuals. When combined with multifactorial risk reduction programmes this approach can reduce falls risk by approximately 30%.

  • Elderly
  • falls
  • osteoporosis
  • fractures
  • geriatric medicine

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.