Osteoarthritis, risk of falls and falls prevention – is it time to change our terminology?

Dr Sze-Ee Soh1, Dr Darshini Ayton1, Dr Tess Tsindos1, Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman1

1Monash University, Frankston, Australia

Abstract:

Title:
Osteoarthritis, risk of falls and falls prevention – is it time to change our terminology?

Aim:
To explore perceived barriers and enablers to participation in falls prevention activities among older people with hip or knee osteoarthritis

Method:
Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with people aged over 50 years who have doctor diagnosed hip or knee osteoarthritis. Participants were sampled from two groups: (1) people who fell within the past 12 months; and (2) people with no experience of falls. The interview guide was developed based on the COM-B framework to elicit consumer views on perceptions and experiences of falls, engagement with clinicians and health services, and acceptability of falls prevention programs and resources. Data were analysed via thematic analysis.

Results:
This presentation will outline findings relating to participants’ perceptions of falls and falls prevention activities, and the barriers and enablers to accessing and engaging with healthcare services. Recruitment experiences and preliminary interview data indicate that people with osteoarthritis were reluctant to use the word ‘fall’ in their narrative experiences of falls or falls prevention activities. They also did not perceive activities such as balance and strengthening exercises to be fall prevention interventions.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
This study will provide a better understanding of the barriers and enablers to engaging in falls prevention activities among people with hip or knee osteoarthritis. This will help allied health clinicians to tailor their discussions and use acceptable language to most effectively provide information on how to reduce falls risk.

Biography:

Sze-Ee is a lecturer and research fellow at Monash University. She is a physiotherapist with extensive experience working with older adults. She has a keen interest in biostatistics, and her main areas of research include falls, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, quality of life and validating outcome measures.