A self-management program to prevent falls in ambulatory and non-ambulatory community dwelling people with multiple sclerosis

The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an innovative fall prevention program for ambulatory and non-ambulatory people with MS.

Falls and fall-related injuries are common among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and can lead to fear of falling and a negative impact on the individual’s health. Research on fall preventive interventions among people with MS is limited. MS fall prevention research has overwhelmingly focused on ambulatory people with MS and has failed to address the needs of individuals only capable of walking a few steps or not at all. For all people with MS, evidence points to the need for interventions that address physical, behavioural, psychological and environmental risk factors, as well as the value of self-management strategies to support development and maintenance of healthy behaviours leading to reduced fall risk.

Aim

To develop and evaluate an innovative fall prevention program for ambulatory and non-ambulatory people with MS.

Method

The project comprises two phases. In phase 1 a fall prevention program is developed for ambulatory and non-ambulatory people with MS. The program addresses diverse fall risk factors and utilises self-management strategies. The development is carried out in collaboration with people with MS and health professionals in multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams. Workshops with all stakeholders are arranged to pursue the co-design process.

In phase 2 the fall prevention program developed in phase 1 is evaluated to determine if it is effective in reducing falls in ambulatory and non-ambulatory people with MS. Change processes that can explain the potential effects of the fall prevention program are identified.

Significance

Falls and fall-related injuries are a societal problem and negatively impacts the health of people with MS. Care and support from healthcare is expected to be person-centred and self-management intervention approaches are especially important for people living with chronic conditions. If the program is effective in reducing the number of falls, it will be of great value for both the individual with MS as well as society.

Principal Investigator

Charlotte Ytterberg

Senior lecturer/physcial therapist

Project group

Martina Bergenroth, project administrator

Marie Elf, professor, Dalarna University

Maria Flink, PhD

Kristina Gottberg, PhD

Sverker Johansson, docent

Marie Kierkegaard, docent

Ulrika Meijer, PhD student

Elizabeth Peterson, professor

Susanna Tuvemo Johnson, postdoc

Collaborators

Fredrik Piehl, professor

Finacial support

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Neuro:
Neuro is an association focusing on neurology. The goal is for people who live with neurological diagnoses to have the same opportunities, rights and responsibilities as everyone else

Research School in Health Science, KI:
The Research School in Health Science is organised by Karolinska Institutet in collaboration with Region Stockholm. The goal is to strengthen education in health & care sciences at the doctoral level and to stimulate high-quality research. The focus area is intervention and implementation research.
A doctoral student place is sought in competition among the projects that have been granted funding. Admitted doctoral students are offered a cohesive structure with courses and targeted activities.

Strategic Research Area  Health Care Sciences (SFO-V)

Swedish Research Council

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