Falls Clinics in Australia: a survey of current practice, and recommendations for future development.

K. Hill, R. Smith, J. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify common themes and differences in structure and function of Falls Clinics in Australia, to provide a framework for planning future activity. A paper-based survey was circulated to 20 identified Falls Clinic services throughout Australia in late 2000. Fifteen responses (75%) were received, although two of the 15 Clinics were not operating at the time of the survey, and so their responses were not included. Nine of the Clinics had commenced operation since 1998. Staffing commonly included a physiotherapist, geriatrician, and an occupational therapist, with the comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment process taking an average of 130 minutes. Although standard assessment tools were used by more than half of the Clinics, there were no universally applied assessment tools. Waiting lists for initial assessments ranged up to 16 weeks (average 6 weeks). Most Clinics instituted a number of management options themselves, but also used a range of existing community services to provide some of the planned interventions. Limited formal evaluation of the effectiveness of Clinics was reported. Recommended future activity included increasing staff levels and operating times for Clinics to more adequately meet identified need, increased networking and data sharing between Clinics, and a greater emphasis on research and staff training. We conclude that the recent increase in the number of Falls Clinics around Australia has occurred in a relatively unstructured manner, with many differences in staffing, operation and evaluation. There is a need for improved communication and standardisation of core procedures and assessment tools to facilitate best practice in all Clinics, and to provide a framework for a systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of Falls Clinics in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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