Accidental Falls | Translation of an Evidence-Based Fall-Prevention Program Into Rural West Virginia Churches

Accidental Falls research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Falls are the leading cause of death and injuries in adults over age 65 both nationally and in West Virginia. Rurality, age, physical inactivity, and chronic conditions, such as arthritis, are strong risk factors for falls in this population. West Virginia has a higher than average fall rate, the second oldest population, the greatest proportion of inactive adults, and the second highest prevalence of arthritis in the US. Thus, older adults in rural West Virginia are at high risk for falls and in great need of public health fall prevention programs. The Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance (MFBB) program is a community-based, fall-prevention exercise program for older adults. A waiver of informed consent will be requested to conduct the telephone screenings to determine study eligibility. We will enroll up to 300 people in classes to be held at 20 churches in West Virginia. Classes will be held twice per week for 16 weeks and taught by certified MFBB instructors. Participants will be interviewed by telephone, have a brief physical function ability exam, and complete a questionnaire before starting the exercise class, at the end of the class, and 4 months later. The study is being conducted to answer the following questions: 1) What are the functional improvements of older adults who participate in a 16-week MFBB program; 2) What is the rate of falls for those adults; 3) What is the rate and severity of those fall-related injuries of the MFBB participants? The purpose of the study is to: 1) implement a 16-week intervention of MFBB with a 16-week follow-up, in older adults in churches in rural West Virginia; 2) describe functional and fall/injury outcomes. Ultimately, we will translate an efficacious and effective fall-prevention intervention into a new setting.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - Aged 55 years or older Exclusion Criteria:

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Accidental Falls

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Other:Tai Chi: Moving for Better BalanceParticipants will attend one-hour Tai Chi classes twice weekly for 16 weeks.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Physical activity interventionTai Chi: Moving for Better Balance exercise program

Study Status


Start Date: February 2014

Completed Date: March 2015

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: 10-Meter Walk Test

Secondary Outcome: Number of fall-related injuries

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Dina L Jones, PT, PhD

Lead Sponsor: West Virginia University

Collaborator: Department of Health and Human Services

More information:

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