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How Do General Practitioners (GPs) Engage in Falls Prevention With Older People? A Pilot Survey of GPs in NHS England Suggests a Gap in Routine Practice to Address Falls Prevention



How Do General Practitioners (GPs) Engage in Falls Prevention With Older People? A Pilot Survey of GPs in NHS England Suggests a Gap in Routine Practice to Address Falls Prevention



Frontiers in Public Health 7: 32



Falls are highly prevalent amongst older people and have substantial financial and social costs for health services and the community. Prevention of falls is the key to managing this threat to older people. General practitioners can identify older people at risk of falls on their caseloads. Once identified, actions can be taken to reduce the risk of falls by referring to appropriate services available in the community, such as allied health practitioners. However, the level of engagement in evidence based falls prevention by GPs is unknown. This study aimed to explore how British general practitioners (GPs) address falls prevention with older people, and to determine if there are any gaps in practice. As a pilot study, another aim was to test the feasibility of methods to survey GPs, if a larger survey was warranted from the findings. An on-line cross-sectional survey was distributed by email to all the Clinical Commissioning Groups in NHS England (n = 213) and individual general practices listed on the NHS Choices website, supplemented by invitations distributed to CCGs through Twitter and LinkedIn sites. Thirty-seven responses were received. Most GPs were unfamiliar with the 2013 NICE guidelines on assessment and prevention of falls in older people (51.4%, n = 19), and only 29.7% (n = 11) asked older people if they had fallen during consultations. If falls risk was identified, 81.1% (n = 30) frequently made referrals to physiotherapy (PT) and 56.8% (n = 21) to occupational therapy (OT). Most GPs did not identify older people on their caseloads as being at risk of falls unless they presented with a fall, and referral rates to relevant AHPs or falls prevention programs were low. Barriers to implementation of falls prevention best practice were identified. Alternative methods are needed to capture the falls prevention practice of a wider sample of GPs.

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Accession: 066628670

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30915322

DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00032


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