Improving Falls Prevention Programs for Older Persons' Mental Health Services

The 2018 International Mental Health Conference is almost upon us again, this year the conference will be held over the 8th – 10th August at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

This annual conference is now in its 19th year and continues to be the pinnacle event in the mental health industry. The Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to build relationships and to share knowledge, research and latest policies.

Dr Rosa Bruce, Occupational Therapist/associate Lecturer, University Of The Sunshine Coast joins us at the conference to discuss ‘Improving Falls Prevention Programs for Older Persons' Mental Health Services’.


Although extensive studies have explored falls in older adults, few have examined this for older persons living with mental health conditions in Australia. The natural changes with ageing put older adults at increased risk of falls, furthermore, after a fracture, up to 40% of older persons do not regain pre-injury mobility function. This study aims to explore factors influencing sustainable use of falls prevention strategies for older persons, after participating in a new occupational therapy falls prevention program.

Literature evidence indicates multifactorial interventions provide the best results for falls prevention. Adherence to interventions relies on the client's intention to use strategies, which is influenced by the way falls prevention education is provided and the level of support to use strategies.
Currently, local public health service mental health clients have more frequent falls than other clients. This project is designed to identify what works and study an occupational therapy led falls preventative program for clients of the Older Persons Mental Health Service, who have complex physical and mental health conditions.

The methodology involves a structured program, outcome measures and participant questionnaire exploring mobility confidence and strategies that continue to be used after the program. Both individual and group sessions have been used to support clients to review and learn the strategies within their own home environment, with the support of the clinician teaching and demonstrating these strategies. Follow-up evaluation in 3 months’ time will determine the effect of the program on frequency of falls (including slips and trips) and the clients’ overall confidence in mobility.

This study aims to provide insights into what strategies people continue to use, as well as how they can be best supported to continue to use falls prevention strategies longer-term within their own homes. Preliminary data will be reported on in this paper.


Jennifer is a fourth year occupational therapy Honours research student with the University of the Sunshine Coast, supervised by Rosie. She has a special interest in the needs of older adults to support wellness and healthy ageing, supported by holistic healthcare that considers both the person's mental and physical health.

For further information on the 19th International Mental Health Conference and to secure your spot please visit


Please follow and like us:

Helping People Make Sense of Their Problems

Previous post

Virtual Counselling in Addiction Recovery - Even from Canada to Australia and New Zealand

Next post