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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


ProFaNE, Prevention of Falls Network Europe, is a four year project, funded by the European Community Framework 5. It is a thematic network, coordinated by the University of Manchester, UK, with 25 partners across Europe. There are also Network Associates from a number of EU and non-EU countries who give their advice and experience at meetings, seminarsand conferences.

The aim is to bring together workers from around Europe to focus on a series of tasks aimed at developing multi-factorial prevention programmes to reduce the incidence of falls and fractures amongst elderly people. The work of ProFaNE is practical, both in terms of developing the evidence base for implementation of effective interventions and encouraging best practice across Europe. The task of each work package is to convene workshops, undertake personnel exchanges and set up collaborative studies, data sharing in order to develop evidence based protocols and publications which can be used to implement change.

Work Package 1 - Fall prevention trials - Taxonomy of interventions and agreed set of outcomes. An agreed and standardised set of outcome definitions and measures is important to improve the robustness of data from intervention studies, will enable comparison across studies, good quality measurement in multi-centre trials, and facilitate meta-analysis of trial results. A taxonomy of interventions will facilitate comparisons between studies, help to determine the most effective components or sub-components of interventions, and aid the decision making process of policy makers and health insurance plans. A Consensus taxonomy and outcome measures statement, Trial design statement, Meta - analysis protocol and Self help materials will be produced.

Work Package 2 - Clinical Assessment and Outcomes. Aims to gain an understanding of the current issues surrounding falls prevention across Europe and to embrace at national and international level, the different political and health service agendas in each country such that recommendations can ultimately be translated into working models of practice. They will establish a robust network of key members across Europe to facilitate the effective and efficient promulgation of evidence likely to influence service developments at national and local level and derive a consensus approach to assessment and management of older people at risk of falling in a variety of clinical settings using the existing evidence base as well as inviting expert opinions in the field.

Work Package 3 - Assessment of balance function and prediction of falls. Measurement tools are needed that predict the risk of falling and give objective assessment of balance function needed for daily life performance. The ultimate goal of the activities within this work package is to combine the expertise of different disciplines for the development of balance assessment tools that meet the requirements for large-scale intervention studies and routine-use in clinical settings. The knowledge needed to develop these instruments and measures is scattered over a wide range of disciplines (ranging from physiology to electrical engineering).

Work Package 4 - Psychological aspects of falling. We need to understand the psychosocial factors which affect the benefit of falling prevention programmes for older people. These include attitudes to falling (such as fear) and factors that promote or reduce uptake of and adherence to a range of falling-related interventions, including exercise. Understanding of attitudes and behaviour will inform guidelines for the design of interventions, and development of measures to assess relevant attitudes. We also co-ordinate development of self-test indices that older people can use to evaluate their own risk of falling, together with guidance as to the actions they should take to prevent falling.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.