By Yvette Martyn
Giving people living in nursing facilities vitamin D supplements reduces the rate of falls in older people, according to a review of the latest evidence published today.
The gold standard Cochrane review analysed 41 randomised control trials involving 25,422 older patients in hospitals and nursing homes and determined the interventions which prevented falls.
They found vitamin D supplementation in nursing home patients reduced the rate of falls by 28% but not the risk of falling which was 2%.
In nursing homes, multifactorial interventions such as exercise and medication did not show a reduction in falls or risk of falling unless multidisciplinary teams were involved. These teams reduced the rate of falls by 40% and the risk of falling by 15%.
The study authors also said interventions to prevent falls may have the unintended effect of increasing the risk of falls and injuries. They pointed out that the role of a falls co-ordinator often resulted in staff being taken away from their usual duties, stressing existing staff members.
The lead author, Ian Cameron, professor of rehabilitation medicine, Sydney Medical School, Australia, said: ‘We have more confidence in recommending multifactorial programmes in nursing care facilities that are delivered by a multidisciplinary team.’
And added: ‘The prescription of vitamin D in nursing care facilities is effective.’
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No : CD005465
Vitamin D supplementation ‘can reduce falls in care homes’