The effect of providing recreational activities on falls in a dementia care home

Authors: Jennings-Parkes, M. and Nyman, S.R.

Conference: 16th International Conference on Falls and Postural Stability

Dates: 11 September 2015


Introduction Falls frequently occur among residents of dementia care homes. However, at present, there is limited evidence for effective strategies to reduce falls in this group. As recreational activities are commonly provided in care homes to promote psychosocial wellbeing, the current study seized an opportunity to test whether the provision of recreational activities can reduce the incidence of falls among residents of a dementia care home.

Method Thirty-seven residents of a UK dementia care home were included in a service evaluation. Over a two-month period, residents were provided with recreational activities on some evenings and no recreational activities on other evenings, as per usual care. Anonymised case reports were retrospectively examined by a researcher to compare the rate of falls over the 60 days between the 30 evenings when recreational activities were provided and the 30 evenings when no activities were provided.

Results The frequency of falls, analysed using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test, were significantly higher on evenings when recreational activities were provided compared with evenings when no activity was provided (23 vs. 11 respectively). However, when only those that actively participated in the recreational activities were included in a sub analysis (n = 24), there was no significant difference in frequency of falls between evenings when activities were or were not provided (8 vs. 9 respectively).

Conclusion The results suggest that providing recreational activities for care home residents who have dementia may increase falls. If this finding is replicated in controlled experimental studies, then this raises an issue for care home staff to consider as they balance reducing the risk of falls with providing activities that promote psychosocial wellbeing.

Source: Manual