Tech Interventions for Fall Prevention

Falls in older people around the world is a global health problem, with at least one third of those over 65 falling annually. A new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded study based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) will use innovative web and app based technologies to help prevent falls in older Australians.


The new study is led by NeuRA and UNSW Associate Professor Kim Delbaere and Professor Kaarin Anstey, in collaboration with the Black Dog Institute, the University of Sydney and the University of Tasmania. It will address a key gap in the understanding of falls interventions, application of personalised medicine, and the delivery of at home fall prevention programs using technology.


Associate Professor Kim Delbaere highlighted that there isn’t one strategy for falls prevention which works for everyone. The new series of web and app based programs will deliver a combination of exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to older Australians in their own homes.


“The technology-based program will deliver tailored fall prevention to older Australians, giving them the power to self-manage their care and take control of their training,” said A/Prof Delbaere.


The program will include balance and brain training plus the management of anxiety, depression, and stress. All components will be delivered by using mobile technology, on a tablet computer, without the need for supervision.


“The program will address a range of different fall risk factors and will be fully individualised. This way we hope to maximise the effectiveness and reduce the burden on older people, at a minimal cost to the consumer and the health care system,” said A/Prof Delbaere.


“The trial has the potential to substantially enhance the health, wellbeing, agility and confidence of older people in Australia and internationally by helping them maintain active lifestyles.”

Commenting on the award of the NHMRC grant, Professor Peter Schofield, Executive Director and CEO of NeuRA, said “NeuRA is looking forward to continuing to lead innovative technology based research that can fundamentally change the independence and confidence of older Australians. ”


The trial will begin recruiting participants in early 2018.