The Iron Bark Project: Falls prevention in older Aboriginal people in NSW

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Our group has established that falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation in older Aboriginal people in NSW and contribute to a significant number of deaths each year.

Despite this high burden of falls, no studies to date have examined the effectiveness of existing mainstream falls prevention interventions when used with Aboriginal populations. Furthermore, the acceptability of these interventions to Aboriginal people and the feasibility of providing them within existing Aboriginal services are not known.

Through the analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health data, the nature of risk factors leading to falls and the burden of resulting injury will be investigated and compared to that of the general Australian population.

Working together with communities and Aboriginal service providers, appropriate and effective falls prevention programs will be developed for testing in Aboriginal health services and among older Aboriginal people in other community settings. The goal of the project is to present an effective and culturally appropriate falls prevention program for integration into existing Aboriginal chronic care services.

All aspects of the project are overseen by an Aboriginal steering committee. Partnerships with Aboriginal Medical Services, Medicare Locals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are a central part to project development and implementation.

Project Team