Reducing falls risk with Kinect based falls prevention Exergames: A 12 week two centre, cluster RCT of community-dwelling older adults living in sheltered housing.

Emma Stanmore, Alexandra Mavroeidi, Vicky Bell, Wytske Meekes, Lex de Jong, Dawn Skelton, Chris Sutton, Valerio Benedetto, Christopher Todd, Christopher Sutton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal unintentional injuries in older people. Despite overwhelming evidence for strength/balance training, adherence to both group and home-exercise programmes is often poor1. A novel approach is the use of home-based, strength and balance video-games (EXERGAMES) but data from randomized controlled trials are limited2. The aim of this study was to test whether a 12 week EXERGAMES home-based intervention, co-developed with older adults and therapists, can improve the risk of falling [by Berg Balance Scale (BBS)] in older adults living in sheltered housing.
Methods: We conducted a two-site (Manchester/Glasgow) cluster RCT. Twelve sheltered housing facilities were randomised (1:1) to either a 12wk standard care plus 3 times/ week EXERGAMES physiotherapist one-to-one intervention (n=56) or standard care (control group n=50). Standard care involved the provision of a home exercise booklet (standard approach for those unable/unwilling to attend group exercise programmes in the community). results: A total of 106 older adults (83F, 23M) with a mean age of 77.8y (SD 10.2; range 55-101y), were recruited for the study. A total of 91 (86%) participants completed all study visits. Over 12 weeks the EXERGAMES intervention had a significant positive impact on BBS [p=0.003; mean (SD), 44.6 (10.7) (EXERGAMES) vs. 37.6 (14.9) (Control)]. The mean change of BBS from baseline was 2.9 (8.5) for the EXERGAMES and -2.8 (6.5) for the control group. The estimated increase in BBS score due to EXERGAMES was 6.2 (95% CI 2.4 to 9.9) which is greater than the minimal detectable change for the scale of 4.93. conclusions: Balance, and thus risk of falling, can be improved through a 12wk physiotherapy led EXERGAMES programme. This type of home based intervention could be considered as an effective alternative to traditional falls prevention exercise regimes to support outcomes for patients.
1. Nyman, S.R. and C.R. Victor, Older people’s participation in and engagement with falls prevention interventions in community settings: an augment to the Cochrane systematic review. Age Ageing 2012;41(1):16-23.
2. Skjaeret N, et al. Exercise and rehabilitation delivered through exergames in older adults: An integrative review of technologies, safety and efficacy. Int J Med Inform 2016;85(1):1-16.
3. Donoghue, D., et al., How much change is true change? The minimum detectable change of the Berg Balance Scale in elderly people. J Rehabil Med 2009;41(5):343-6.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Falls prevention
  • Exergames
  • Cluster RCT
  • Virtual Reality
  • Gamification


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