Perspectives of older adults regarding barriers and enablers to engaging in fall prevention activities after hospital discharge

Chiara Naseri, Steven M. McPhail, Terry P. Haines, Meg E. Morris, Ronald Shorr, Christopher Etherton-Beer, Julie Netto, Leon Flicker, Max Bulsara, Den-Ching A. Lee, Jacqueline Francis-Coad, Nicholas Waldron, Amanda Boudville, Anne Marie Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Older adults recently discharged from hospital are at high risk of functional decline and falls. A tailored fall prevention education provided at hospital discharge aimed to improve the capacity of older adults to engage in falls prevention activities. What remains unknown are the factors affecting behaviour change after hospital discharge. This study identified the perceived barriers and enablers of older adults to engagement in fall prevention activities during the 6-month period post-discharge. An exploratory approach using interpretative phenomenological analysis focused on the lived experience of a purposive sample (n = 30) of participants. All were recruited as a part of an RCT (n = 390) that delivered a tailored fall prevention education program at three hospital rehabilitation wards in Perth, Australia. Data were collected at 6-month post-discharge using semi-structured telephone surveys. Personal stories confirmed that some older adults have difficulty recovering functional ability after hospital discharge. Reduced physical capability, such as experiences of fatigue, chronic pain and feeling unsteady when walking were barriers for participants to safely return to their normal daily activities. Participants who received the tailored fall education program reported positive effects on knowledge and motivation to engage in fall prevention. Participants who had opportunities to access therapy or social supports described more positive experiences of recovery compared to individuals who persevered without assistance. A lack of physical and social support was associated with apprehension and fear toward adverse events such as falls, injuries, and hospital readmission. The lived experience of participants following hospital discharge strongly suggested that they required more supports from both healthcare professionals and caregivers to ensure that their needs were met. Further research that evaluates how to assist this population to engage in programs that will mitigate the high risk of falls and hospital readmissions is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1710-1722
Number of pages13
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • evaluation
  • fall prevention
  • falls
  • health behaviour change
  • hospitalization
  • patient discharge
  • physiotherapy

Cite this