Review Article| Volume 21, ISSUE 8, P1024-1035.e4, August 2020

Efficacy and Generalizability of Falls Prevention Interventions in Nursing Homes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:January 23, 2020DOI:



      To determine the efficacy of fall intervention programs in nursing homes (NHs) and the generalizability of these interventions to people living with cognitive impairment and dementia.


      Systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Setting and Participants

      NH residents (n = 30,057) living in NHs defined as residential facilities that provide 24-hours-a-day surveillance, personal care, and some clinical care for persons who are typically aged ≥65 years with multiple complex chronic health conditions.


      Meta-analysis of falls prevention interventions on number of falls, fallers, and recurrent fallers.


      Thirty-six studies met inclusion criteria for the systematic review. Overall, fall prevention interventions reduced the number of falls [risk ratio (RR) = 0.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.60-0.88], fallers (RR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.72-0.89), and recurrent fallers (RR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.60-0.81). Subanalyses revealed that single interventions have a significant effect on reducing fallers (RR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.69-0.89) and recurrent fallers (RR = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.52-0.70), whereas multiple interventions reduce fallers (RR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.39-0.97) and multifactorial interventions reduce number of falls (RR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.45-0.94).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Exercise as a single intervention reduced the number of fallers and recurrent fallers by 36% and 41%, respectively, in people living in NHs. Other effective interventions included staff education and multiple and multifactorial interventions. However, more research on exercise including people with cognitive impairment and dementia is needed to improve the generalizability of these interventions to the typical NH resident.


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