ICT-based system to predict and prevent falls (iStoppFalls): study protocol for an international multicenter randomized controlled trial

Gschwind, Yves J.; Eichberg, Sabine; Marston, Hannah R.; Ejupi, Andreas; de Rosario, Helios; Kroll, Michael; Drobics, Mario; Annegam, Janneke; Wieching, Rainer; Lord, Stephen R.; Aal, Konstantin and Delbaere, Kim (2014). ICT-based system to predict and prevent falls (iStoppFalls): study protocol for an international multicenter randomized controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics, 14, article no. 91.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-14-91


Background: Falls are very common, especially in adults aged 65 years and older. Within the current international European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) project ‘iStoppFalls’ an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based system has been developed to regularly assess a person’s risk of falling in their own home and to deliver an individual and tailored home-based exercise and education program for fall prevention. The primary aims of iStoppFalls are to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention program, and its effectiveness to improve balance, muscle strength and quality of life in older people.

Methods/Design: This international, multicenter study is designed as a single-blinded, two-group randomized controlled trial. A total of 160 community-dwelling older people aged 65 years and older will be recruited in Germany (n = 60), Spain (n = 40), and Australia (n = 60) between November 2013 and May 2014. Participants in the intervention group will conduct a 16-week exercise program using the iStoppFalls system through their television set at home. Participants are encouraged to exercise for a total duration of 180 minutes per week. The training program consists of a variety of balance and strength exercises in the form of video games using exergame technology. Educational material about a healthy lifestyle will be provided to each participant. Final reassessments will be conducted after 16 weeks. The assessments include physical and cognitive tests as well as questionnaires assessing health, fear of falling, quality of life and psychosocial determinants. Falls will be followed up for six months by monthly falls calendars.

Discussion: We hypothesize that the regular use of this newly developed ICT-based system for fall prevention at home is feasible for older people. By using the iStoppFalls sensor-based exercise program, older people are expected to improve in balance and strength outcomes. In addition, the exercise training may have a positive impact on quality of life by reducing the risk of falls. Taken together with expected cognitive improvements, the individual approach of the iStoppFalls program may provide an effective model for fall prevention in older people who prefer to exercise at home.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Trial ID: ACTRN12614000096651. International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number: ISRCTN15932647.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 42175
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1471-2318
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Not Set1038210Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • Extra Information
  • 13 pp.
  • Keywords
  • fall prevention; fall risk assessment; older adults; exercise; strength; balance; exergames; video games
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2014 Gschwind et al.
  • Depositing User
  • Hannah Marston