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Vitamin D and Nursing Home Falls

Posted Jan 16 2010 11:43am

SYDNEY, Jan. 15 (UPI) — Falls, a leading cause of death and disability in the elderly, may be reduced by  vitamin D supplementation in nursing homes, Australian researchers say.

Lead researcher Ian Cameron of the Sydney Medical School said older people living in nursing facilities or admitted to a hospital are at higher risk for falls than those living at home. Hip fractures, which can be deadly, occur in nursing facilities at a rate 10 times greater than elsewhere.

Cameron and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 41 studies involving 25,422  olderpeople , mostly women. Five studies tested the effects of giving vitamin D to patients in nursing facilities, where it was found to be an effective measure for preventing falls, although researchers are not sure why.

The researchers found multifactorial interventions — which often incorporated  exercise , medication or environmental factors including appropriate equipment — reduced the risk of falls in hospitals. In nursing homes, the effects of multifactorial interventions were not significant overall.

However, the researchers concluded multifactorial interventions provided by multidisciplinary teams in these facilities may reduce the rate and risk of falls.

“In our review, we saw limited evidence that these combined interventions work, but we could more confidently recommend them if they were delivered by a multidisciplinary team,” Cameron said.

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