Faculty Advisor

Morris Beato PT, DPT, GCS, NCS, CEEAA; Nicole Dawson, PT, PhD, GCS

Publication Date

Spring 2020


Falls are a leading cause of morbidity, mortality, loss of independence, and significant functional decline in older adults. When compared to their community dwelling counterparts, residents of assisted living facilities (ALFs) are at an even greater risk for falls. Recent research has found that an Otago-based exercise program may decrease falls and falls risk among older adults.

PURPOSE: This study was designed to compare the outcomes of an Otago-based exercise program and traditional physical therapy in decreasing falls and the risk of falls among older adults living in an ALF. We hypothesized that traditional physical therapy would reduce falls risk and the number of falls in ALF-residing older adults more than an Otago-based Exercise (OBE).

METHODS: This study is a quasi-experimental retrospective chart review which included 59 older adults living in an ALF, who received either traditional physical therapy (n = 29) or OBE (n = 30). Participants were classified at risk for falls by the Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA). Primary variables included number of falls prior to intervention, during and 1 year post-intervention, as well as pre and post treatment POMA scores.

RESULTS: Group assignment did not significantly predict performance in key outcome measures. No differences were found in the number of falls (p= 0.199) or POMA scores (p = 0.063) following treatment.

CONCLUSION: Both OBE and traditional physical therapy may be effective interventions for reducing falls and fall risk in the ALF setting. One treatment strategy did not prove to be superior to the other.

Access Status

UCF Only