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Johns Hopkins to Participate in $30 Million Federal Study Designed to Prevent Fall-Related Injuries - 07/02/2014

Johns Hopkins to Participate in $30 Million Federal Study Designed to Prevent Fall-Related Injuries

Release Date: July 2, 2014

Investigators at Johns Hopkins are among researchers at 10 institutions selected to carry out a five-year, $30 million patient-centered study designed to compare strategies for preventing fall-related injuries in older adults.

The project, funded and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, will award $2 million to Johns Hopkins researchers, who will both recruit subjects for the overall study and lead a pilot study trial. 

Albert Wu, M.D., M.P.H., professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is the principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins site and co-lead of the Clinical Trial Sites committee.  He also holds a faculty appointment in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We will identify and recruit people 75 and older who are at risk for falls and assess the effectiveness of individually tailored care plans for preventing them,” says Wu. “The study’s approach differs from other research in that it will integrate already proven falls-reduction strategies into cohesive interventions that can be adopted by many health care systems.”   

Each year, experts estimate that one-third of people 65 and older fall, and that one-third of these sustain moderate to severe injuries that lead to poor health and loss of independence.  Thousands of older adults die each year from such falls.

Johns Hopkins investigators plan to enroll 500 to 600 seniors living in the community who have one or more “modifiable risk factors” for a serious fall. 

“Prevention is important to functional independence in older adults,” says Jeremy Walston, M.D., associate professor of geriatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins University Older American Independence Center. “If this study can demonstrate the value of already proven strategies and change practice patterns nationwide, it has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for millions of older adults.”

Each study participant will be assessed for risk of falling and receive either the current standard of care — primarily, information about preventing falls — or the experimental intervention consisting of individualized care plans. The plans will be given to all participants’ primary care physicians for review, modification and approval. The plans will be designed so that they can be implemented by the research teams, physicians, other health care providers, caregivers and staff members at community-based organizations.

 Recruitment for the study will begin this fall at Johns Hopkins. The other centers participating in the study are:

Essentia Health, Duluth, Minnesota

HealthCare Partners, Torrance, California

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore

Mount Sinai Health System, New York City

Partners HealthCare, Waltham, Massachusetts

Reliant Medical Group, Worcester, Massachusetts

University of Iowa Health Alliance, Iowa City

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston Health

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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