A participatory evaluation of a Falls Awareness Programme: Report

Megan Elliott, Hannah Watson, Amy Lewis, Ron Hook, Shirley Keeble, Carolyn Wallace

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Falls are common in older adults and are associated with injuries and serious ongoing problems. Approximately 30% of people over the age of 65 years fall at least once per year. As well as having major physical implications on a person’s life, a fall can affect a person’s psychological well-being, activity levels, social interactions, self-confidence and independence.

Rhonda Cynon Taf County Borough Council designed and implemented a 10-15 week Falls Awareness programme, which aims to raise awareness of falls risks and contribute towards falls prevention in older adults. The programme invites expert speakers to host sessions in sheltered housing schemes or community venues to address different falls risks.

This participatory evaluation worked with a steering group including academics, health and well-being improvement professionals and members of the public who had participated in the programme, to design and conduct a mixed-methods study to evaluate the Falls Awareness programme.

Data to assess general well-being and falls efficacy was collected at baseline (week 1 of the programme) from 147 participants. Data was also collected at follow-up (final week of the programme) from 74 participants. Four focus groups were also held with 24 participants to further explore their experiences of the Falls Awareness programme. Participants in both parts of the study were split amongst sheltered housing schemes and community venues.

Concerns about falling were high amongst participants, particularly those living in sheltered housing schemes. Self-reported general health was higher for participants in the community venues, compared to sheltered housing schemes. Levels of concern or general health did not significantly change between baseline and follow-up. However, the data indicates a slight trend suggesting the programme may be more effective for people in sheltered housing schemes.
Through thematic analysis of the focus groups two themes were identified. The first theme; ‘Value of the programme’ discusses the value of information from a credible source, useful information to improve safety, and small but sustainable changes that participants made following the programme. The second theme; ‘Programme structure’ is presented as three subthemes; ‘Accessibility of the programme’, exploring how participants found out about the programme and engaged with it, ‘Social learning’, highlighting the benefits of peer support and social interaction, and ‘Mode of delivery and content’, discussing the specific features of the programme that were preferred by participants.

From these results, the authors have provided a number of recommendations regarding; the programme name, identifying ‘at risk’ individuals, more effective allocation of resources, reviewing data collection tools used, repeated data collection points, providing informal opportunities for participants to engage with presenters and socialise amongst themselves, seeking ways to increase engagement of men, as well as a number of smaller recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyRhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2019


  • Falls
  • Evaluation
  • Public health
  • Older adults


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