Background Avoiding falls in the home environment for the elderly is proven as an effective intervention to reduce health costs in society on the one hand and to increase the quality of life and independence of the target group concerned on the other hand.
Objectives As a result, the Swiss League Against Rheumatism has developed a service to reduce fall risks, which enables a behavioural and environmental preventative assessment of their own home for elderly people at risk of falling.
Methods Interested persons at risk of falling register themselves directly or via their GP or Spitex at a Swiss League Against Rheumatism coordination site. The coordination site charges specially-trained physiotherapists with assessing guidance. After consultation, examination and assessment, changes are undertaken in the living area that were deemed necessary. Cases of tripping are eliminated. In addition, the elderly are counselled individually and instructed in strength and balance training over 2-3 sessions. After the assessment, a report is drawn up showing the recommended follow-up actions that will be made available by the supervising doctor, the elderly person and, where possible, Spitex.
A telephone call-back or a second visit to the elderly person consulted is carried out after approx. 4 weeks. The elderly person will be contacted again by telephone 6 months later.
Results The service has been tested in the context of a pilot project in the Canton of Lucerne, in which around 100 house visits were carried out. The project has been accompanied by a master's thesis for ZHAW [Zurich University of Applied Sciences] and evaluated. The results show that the intervention was simple to implement and constructive. Due to the positive feedback from the partners involved and the elderly people, the Swiss League Against Rheumatism is now also introducing this service on a national level. So far, about 400 house visits were successfully carried out.
Conclusions Additional secondary research in relation to the long-term cost effect and the influence on quality of life of the elderly is planned. With this service, the Swiss League Against Rheumatism wishes to make a contribution towards the independence and quality of life of the elderly.
Disclosure of Interest None declared