Developing a programme to reduce the risk of falls in people with dementia

Read about a research project we funded into the influence of mild cognitive impairment on falls, gait and rehabilitation.

Lead investigator: Dr Victoria Booth    
Institution: Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Grant Type: Clinical Training Fellowship
Grant amount: £150,408    
Start date: August 2014
Completion date: July 2017

What was the project, and what did the researchers do?

Research has found that older adults with dementia are twice as likely to fall as those without the condition. This suggests that adults with mild cognitive impairment, a condition in which a person has minor problems with their memory, may also experience more falls. Given her background in both physiotherapy and research, Dr Booth's project focused on understanding how we can identify adults with both mild cognitive impairment and an increased risk of falling, and how we can prevent their falls.

The project was divided into three areas. The first focused on looking at previous research on preventing and reducing falls in people with dementia. The second area used existing data to understand if people with mild cognitive impairment experience falls, and if so, the reasons why. The final area developed an exercise programme to reduce the risk of falls in people with mild problems with their memory. The exercise programme was tested on a small group of people with mild cognitive impairment, to understand whether they were able to do the exercises, and to do an initial assessment on the impact of the programme. 

What were the key results, and how will this help in the fight against dementia?

The research project found that exercise is frequently used to reduce falls, although not much previous research has focused on reducing fall in people with dementia. Mechanisms used to reduce falls in exercise programmes for people with dementia have focused on improving their posture, manner of walking, and memory. 

Dr Booth found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment do experience falls. She also found that adults who experience more problems with their memory fall more frequently. 

Finally, the research found that people with mild cognitive impairment had the ability to participate in the exercise programme designed to decrease falls, although they needed the support of a therapist or a carer. Participants who undertook the exercise programme showed some physical improvements in falls risk, balance and manner of walking, although more research is needed to support these findings.       

What happened next? Future work and additional grants

Dr  Booth will continue to develop the exercise programme designed to decrease falls and support those who will be delivering it to people with mild cognitive impairment. She will continue to work both as a physiotherapist and as a researcher for her hospital. She also plans to undertake future research that includes testing the developed exercise programme in a group environment, and understanding the impact of exercise on people with more severe forms of dementia. 

How were people told about the results? Conferences and Publications

Publications

Booth V, Hood V, and Kearney F.  Interventions incorporating physical and cognitive elements to reduce falls risk in cognitively impaired older adults: a protocol. The JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. 2015  
 

Booth V, Logan P, Masud T, Harwood R, and Hood V.  A feasibility study of a tailored physical and cognitive exercise intervention to reduce falls in older adults with mild dementia. European Geriatric Medicine (2016) Supplement 1(7), S142-S143.
 

Booth V, Masud T, Hood V, Harwood R and Logan P.  Understanding the Theoretical Underpinning of the Exercise Component in a Falls Prevention Programme for Older Adults with Mild Dementia: A Realist Review Protocol. Systematic Reviews, 2016; 5:119. DOI: 10.1186/s13643-016-0212-x
 

Booth V, Hood V, & Kearney F. Interventions incorporating physical and cognitive elements to reduce falls risk in cognitively impaired older adults: a systematic review. JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, 2016; 14(5), 110-135. DOI: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-002499
 

Booth V, Logan P, Masud T, Hood V, van der Wardt V and Harwood R.  Falls, gait and dual-tasking in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A cross-sectional study. European Geriatric Medicine. 2015; 6:S104. DOI:10.1016/S1878-7649(15)30370-3
 

Booth V, Hood V, and Kearney F.  Interventions incorporating physical and cognitive elements to reduce falls risk in cognitively impaired older adults: a protocol. The JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. 2015; 13(8):5. DOI:10.11124/jbisrir-2015-2220
 

Booth V, Logan P, Harwood R, and Hood V.  Falls prevention interventions in older adults with cognitive impairment: A systematic review of reviews. International Journal of Therapy Research. 2015; 22(6):289-296. DOI:10.12968/ijtr.2015.22.6.289

Poster and oral presentations

Oral presentation at Centre for Advancement in Realist Evaluation and Synthesis 

2nd International Conference, University of Liverpool, London Campus. October 2016.  Understanding the Theoretical Underpinning of the Exercise Component in a Falls Prevention Programme for Older Adults with Mild Dementia: A Realist Review Protocol.
 

Poster presentation at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Lisbon. October 2016. A feasibility study of a tailored physical and cognitive exercise intervention to reduce falls in older adults with mild dementia.
 

Poster presentation at the Alzheimer's Society Research Network Annual Research 

Conference, Manchester. July 2016. A feasibility study of a tailored physical and cognitive exercise intervention to reduce falls in older adults with mild dementia.  
 

Oral presentation at Journal Club, Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, University of Nottingham.  May 2016.  Understanding the Theoretical Underpinning of the Exercise Component in a Falls Prevention Programme for Older Adults with Mild Dementia: A Realist Review Protocol.
 

Oral presentation at the Sue Watson Post-Graduate Presentation event, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. October 2015. Falls, gait and dual-tasking in older adults with mild dementia: A cross-sectional survey.
 

Poster presentation at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Oslo.  September 2015.  Falls, gait and dual-tasking in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A cross-sectional survey.  
 

Symposium presentation at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Oslo.  September 2015. Falls in cognitive impairment and dementia: identifying those at risk and developing novel interventions.
 

Poster presentation at the Alzheimer's Society Research Network Annual Research 

Conference, Manchester. July 2015. Falls prevention interventions in older adults with cognitive impairment: A systematic review of reviews.  
 

Oral presentation at Engage-Enthuse-Empower, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Research Conference, Nottingham. June 2015. Falls, gait and dual-tasking in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A cross-sectional survey.
 

Oral presentation at Journal Club, Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, University of Nottingham.  May 2015. Using a Realist Review Method to Understand the Theoretical Underpinning of Falls Prevention Programmes for Older Adults with Mild Dementia.
 

Oral presentation at Alzheimer's Society funding and researcher development workshop, Coventry University.  May 2015. The influence of mild cognitive impairment on falls, gait and rehabilitation: An Alzheimer's Society Clinical Training Fellowship

Think this page could be useful to someone? Share it:
Categories

Further reading