Recruiting older participants to a randomised trial of a community-based fall prevention program

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe the effectiveness of recruitment strategies used for a randomised trial of a fall prevention program.

Methods

Community-residing persons (n = 310) aged 70 years or older and at risk of falling were recruited using promotional materials, health professional referrals, media, community presentations, mail outs, and friends/relatives. Mail and telephone recruitment strategies were able to be compared to actual recruitment yields, with costs reported for each.

Results

Mail outs by organisations had response rates between 3.1 and 7.7%, with recruitment yields between 1.8 and 4.4%. Local media editorials were low cost and useful. Gender and physical status of participants varied according to the recruitment method, with multisources producing a reasonably representative sample.

Conclusions

Databases and mail outs using personalised letters were the most effective recruitment strategies for a community-based preventive program. This study contributes to the expanding evidence of the kinds of recruitment that are more effective, considering the context of the study and the intervention.

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