Living with falls: House-bound older people's experiences of health and community care
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Stewart, J. & McVittie, C. (2011) Living with falls: House-bound older people's experiences of health and community care, European Journal of Ageing, vol. 8, , pp. 271-279,
Despite world-wide emphasis on falls prevention, falls and their consequences remain a major health issue for older people, and their health care providers. Many systematic reviews have been undertaken to evaluate the impact of intervention programmes on falls reduction, however relatively little research provides a voice for older people's own perceptions of such programmes. To readdress this imbalance the current research aimed to investigate the experiences of a hard to reach group of older people who had received a post-fall health and social care programme. Semi-structured interviews with eight house-bound people aged over 65 were undertaken, and data analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four themes were identified: Losing independence; losing confidence; losing social identity; managing a changed self. Despite a tailored intervention programme minimal improvement in participants' psychological adjustment to falls was noted. Outcomes from this study are of interest to health and social care staff who deliver falls prevention programmes. Staff need to enhance constructive adjustment to the older person's altered circumstances and ensure their behaviours do not exacerbate their clients' loss of independence. This should assist older people's ability to positively manage their sense of self, allowing them to find continuing meaning in their daily lives.