Cost Effectiveness of Falls and Injury Prevention Strategies for Older Adults Living in Residential Aged Care Facilities

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the cost effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent falls and fall-related injuries among older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) from an Australian health care perspective.

Methods

A decision analytic Markov model was developed that stratified individuals according to their risk of falling and accounted for the risk of injury following a fall. The effectiveness of the interventions was derived from two Cochrane reviews of randomized controlled trials for falls/fall-related injury prevention in RACFs. Interventions were considered effective if they reduced the risk of falling or reduced the risk of injury following a fall. The interventions that were modelled included vitamin D supplementation, annual medication review, multifactorial intervention (a combination of risk assessment, medication review, vision assessment and exercise) and hip protectors. The cost effectiveness was calculated as the incremental cost relative to the incremental benefit, in which the benefit was estimated using quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Uncertainty was explored using univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analysis.

Results

Vitamin D supplementation and medication review both dominated ‘no intervention', as these interventions were both more effective and cost saving (because of healthcare costs avoided). Hip protectors are dominated (less effective and more costly) by vitamin D and medication review. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for medication review relative to vitamin D supplementation is AU$2442 per QALY gained, and the ICER for multifactorial intervention relative to medication review is AU$1,112,500 per QALY gained. The model is most sensitive to the fear of falling and the cost of the interventions.

Conclusion

The model suggests that vitamin D supplementation and medication review are cost-effective interventions that reduce falls, provide health benefits and reduce health care costs in older adults living in RACFs.

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