Can peer education improve beliefs, knowledge, motivation and intention to engage in falls prevention amongst community-dwelling older adults?
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of delivering a contemporary peer-led falls prevention education presentation on community-dwelling older adults’ beliefs, knowledge, motivation and intention to engage in falls prevention strategies. A two-group quasi-experimental pre-test–post-test study using a convenience sample was conducted. A new falls prevention training package for peer educators was developed, drawing on contemporary adult learning and behaviour change principles. A 1-h presentation was delivered to community-dwelling older adults by peer educators trained with the new package (intervention group). Control group participants received an existing, 1-h falls prevention presentation by trained peer educators who had not received the adult learning and behaviour change training. Participants in both groups completed a purpose-developed questionnaire at pre-presentation, immediately post-presentation and at one-month follow-up. Participants’ levels of beliefs, knowledge, motivation and intention were compared across these three points of time. Generalised estimating equations models examined associations in the quantitative data, while deductive content analysis was used for qualitative data. Participants (control n = 99; intervention n = 133) in both groups showed significantly increased levels of beliefs and knowledge about falls prevention, and intention to engage in falls prevention strategies over time compared to baseline. The intervention group was significantly more likely to report a clear action plan to undertake falls prevention strategies compared to the control group. Peer-led falls prevention education is an effective approach for raising older adults’ beliefs, knowledge and intention to engage in falls prevention strategies.
KeywordsAccidental falls Peer group Health education Health promotion
The authors are grateful and thank the older adults who willingly gave their time to participate in the pre-tests, pilot trial, control group and intervention group trials. We would also like to thank Council on the Ageing Australia’s Mall Walkers at Karrinyup and Belmont, and particularly B. Joss and N. Gillman (Hollywood Functional Rehabilitation Clinic) for their help with the trials. We would especially like to thank Injury Control Council of Western Australia’s Falls Prevention Program’s staff especially Alexandra White and Juliana Summers and their volunteer peer educators for facilitating the conduct of this study. Finally, we are grateful to P. Chivers and M. Bulsara for their statistical expertise, advice and support.
This work was supported by the Australian Government’s Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) programme. The peer education programme is run as part of the Stay On Your Feet WA® programme. This falls prevention health promotion programme is coordinated by the Injury Control Council of Western Australia and supported by the Government of Western Australia.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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