Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sharing knowledge of falls prevention for people with dementia: insights for community care practice

Claudia Meyer A B E , Sophie Hill A , Keith D. Hill C and Briony Dow D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Health Communication and Participation, School of Psychology and Public Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Plenty Road, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia.

B RDNS Institute, 31 Alma Road, St Kilda, Vic. 3182, Australia.

C School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Kent Street, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.

D National Ageing Research Institute, PO Box 2127, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Vic. 3050, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: cmeyer@rdns.com.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(5) 464-470 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16142
Submitted: 18 January 2016  Accepted: 23 May 2017   Published: 21 July 2017

Abstract

People living with dementia (PLWD) fall more frequently, with more adverse consequences, than general community-dwelling older people; however, falls prevention evidence for PLWD is limited. Increased success of falls prevention strategies for PLWD may rely on tailored interventions to address dementia-specific risk factors. The Australian person-centred care environment highlights the need to better understand sharing of falls prevention knowledge between clients, carers and health professionals. This study aims to examine knowledge of falls prevention for PLWD among community care health professionals (CCHPs) and explore effectiveness of an action–research approach to enhance falls prevention practice. Consecutive action–research sessions were conducted with four groups of Australian multidisciplinary CCHPs (n = 18), including a knowledge survey of CCHPs, followed by implementation of action plans. Thematic analysis of the transcribed discussion was undertaken. Results showed limited knowledge and understanding of evidence-based falls prevention strategies, but small incremental changes made by CCHPs through action research offered insights into enhancing knowledge and awareness. Appropriate professional development for community care health professionals is needed to support falls prevention for PLWD, along with associated organisational changes, to ensure knowledge is adequate.


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