Personal response systems are used to support frail, older people, and people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes. This paper describes the patterns, characteristics, and outcomes of Personal Alert Victoria (PAV) clients who experience a fall. It also examines the current falls prevention referral practices of assessors who determine whether an older person would benefit from a personal response system. Deidentified data on clients from the PAV service provider from 2012 to 2014 were linked to routine data maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria. Falls prevention referral practices of assessors were examined using an online survey. Personal response systems were most frequently activated because of a fall in this group of older people (n = 16,822; 44%). No demographic or clinical factors differentiated PAV clients who activated the system because of a fall compared to those who did not, despite a significant increase in the rate of falls-related system activations (p = 0.001) and hospitalisation (p < 0.001) between 2012 and 2014. Assessors believed that PAV clients were at increased risk of falls and frequently recommended falls prevention interventions such as strength and balance interventions (n = 112; 93%) in order to address this risk. This study has provided an insight into the issue of falls among PAV clients, which can help guide the tailoring of falls prevention interventions that can be integrated within existing service models.
- older person
- personal response system