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Implementing an Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Program in Senior Centers

September 26, 2016 - The September, 2016 issue of American Journal of Public Health reported a project that evaluated the effectiveness of implementing an evidence-based fall prevention intervention in community senior centers.

This joint project among Oregon Research Institute, Willamette University in Salem, OR and Oregon Medical Group used a single-group design to evaluate the Tai Chi Chuan: Moving for Better Balance program's adoption, population reach, implementation, effectiveness, and maintenance among 36 senior centers in 4 Oregon counties between 2012 and 2016.

The primary outcome measure was number of falls as ascertained by self-report. Trained Tai Chi instructors delivered the program to community-dwelling older adults for 48 weeks, with a 6-month post-intervention follow-up.

Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance (TJQMBB) was adopted by 89% of the senior centers approached and reached 90% of the target population. The program resulted in a 49% reduction in the total number of falls and improved physical performance. Participation was well maintained after the program's completion. The average cost-effectiveness ratio for the 48-week program implementation was $917 per fall prevented and $676 per fall prevented for multiple falls.

The research team concluded that TJQMBB is an effective public health program that can be broadly implemented in community senior centers for primary prevention of falls among community-dwelling older adults.

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