Using Video Capture to Investigate the Causes of Falls in Long-Term Care

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Falls and their associated injuries represent a significant cost and care burden in long-term care (LTC) settings. The evidence base for how and why falls occur in LTC, and for the design of effective interventions, is weakened by the absence of objective data collected on falls.

Design and Methods:

In this article, we reflect on the potential utility of video footage in fall investigations. In particular, we report on findings from a Canadian Institute for Health Research-funded research project entitled “Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors,” detailing 4 distinct methodological approaches where video footage of real-life falls was used to assist in identifying the circumstances and contributory factors of fall events in LTC: questionnaire-driven observational group analysis; video-stimulated recall interviews and focus groups; video observations of the resident 24hr before the fall; and video incorporated within a comprehensive systemic falls investigative method.

Results and Implications:

We describe various ways in which video footage offers potential for both care providers and researchers to help understand the cause and prevention of falls in LTC. We also discuss the limitations of using video in fall investigations, including the logistical, practical, and ethical concerns arising from such an approach.

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