Digital technologies to prevent falls in people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a rapid systematic overview of systematic reviews

Charlotte Eost-Telling, Yang Yang, Gill Norman, Alex Hall, Barbara Hanratty, Martin Knapp, Louise Robinson, Chris Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Falls are a common cause of potentially preventable death, disability and loss of independence with an annual estimated cost of £4.4bn. People living with dementia (PlwD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have an increased fall risk. This overview evaluates evidence for technologies aiming to reduce falls and fall risk for PlwD or MCI.

METHODS: In October 2022, we searched five databases for evidence syntheses. We used standard methods to rapidly screen, extract data, assess risk of bias and overlap, and synthesise the evidence for each technology type.

RESULTS: We included seven systematic reviews, incorporating 22 relevant primary studies with 1,412 unique participants. All reviews had critical flaws on AMSTAR-2: constituent primary studies were small, heterogeneous, mostly non-randomised and assessed as low or moderate quality. Technologies assessed were: wearable sensors, environmental sensor-based systems, exergaming, virtual reality systems. We found no evidence relating to apps. Review evidence for the direct impact on falls was available only from environmental sensors, and this was inconclusive. For wearables and virtual reality technologies there was evidence that technologies may differentiate PlwD who fell from those who did not; and for exergaming that balance may be improved.

CONCLUSIONS: The evidence for technology to reduce falls and falls risk for PlwD and MCI is methodologically weak, based on small numbers of participants and often indirect. There is a need for higher-quality RCTs to provide robust evidence for effectiveness of fall prevention technologies. Such technologies should be designed with input from users and consideration of the wider implementation context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Digital Technology
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnosis
  • Dementia/diagnosis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Digital technologies to prevent falls in people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a rapid systematic overview of systematic reviews'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this