Fall prevention services for older Aboriginal people: investigating availability and acceptability

Caroline Lukaszyk, Julieann Coombes, Lisa Keay, Catherine Sherrington, Anne Tiedemann, Tony Broe, Loraine Lovitt, Rebecca Ivers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Falls and fall-related injury are emerging issues for older Aboriginal people. Despite this, it is unknown whether older Aboriginal people access available fall prevention programs, or whether these programs are effective or acceptable to this population. Objective: To investigate the use of available fall prevention services by older Aboriginal people and identify features that are likely to contribute to program acceptability for Aboriginal communities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to Aboriginal and mainstream health and community services across NSW to identify the fall prevention and healthy ageing programs currently used by older Aboriginal people. Services with experience in providing fall prevention interventions for Aboriginal communities, and key Aboriginal health services that delivered programs specifically for older Aboriginal people, were followed up and staff members were nominated from within each service to be interviewed. Service providers offered their suggestions as to how a fall prevention program could be designed and delivered to meet the health and social needs of their older Aboriginal clients. Results: Of the 131 services that completed the questionnaire, four services (3%) had past experience in providing a mainstream fall prevention program to Aboriginal people; however, there were no programs being offered at the time of data collection. From these four services, and from a further five key Aboriginal health services, 10 staff members experienced in working with older Aboriginal people were interviewed. Barriers preventing services from offering appropriate fall prevention programs to their older Aboriginal clients were identified, including limited funding, a lack of available Aboriginal staff, and communication difficulties between health services and sectors. According to the service providers, an effective and acceptable fall prevention intervention would be evidence based, flexible, community-oriented and social, held in a familiar and culturally safe location and delivered free of cost. Conclusion: This study identified a gap in the availability of acceptable fall prevention programs designed for, and delivered to, older Aboriginal people in NSW. Further consultation with older Aboriginal people is necessary to determine how an appropriate and effective program can be designed and delivered. Terminology: The authors recognise the two distinctive Indigenous populations of Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Because the vast majority of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is Aboriginal (95.4%)1, this population will be referred to as 'Aboriginal' in this manuscript.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere2651659
    Number of pages9
    JournalPublic Health Research and Practice
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'Fall prevention services for older Aboriginal people: investigating availability and acceptability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this