Falls Links 

 June 2021 | Issue 3 

Welcome to our newsletter

Upcoming Events

9th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Conference

Live Stronger for Longer

1-3 December 2021

Registrations are open for the 9th Biennial ANZFPS Falls Prevention Conference.

This year's mantra is ‘Live Stronger for Longer’ underpinning the desire to promote strength, independence and wellbeing in ageing. The Conference aims to explore prevention, understanding and mechanisms of falls as well as the broader challenges of engaging communities and the implementation of best practice policy


Key note speakers include:


Prof Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT, Professor, is a physical therapist and a Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy. She directs the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Health Laboratory (http://cogmob.rehab.med.ubc.ca) as well as the Vancouver General Hospital’s Falls Prevention Clinic (www.fallsclinic.ca).


Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s research focuses on understanding the role of exercise in promoting cognitive and mobility outcomes in older adults. Her research expertise are in randomized controlled trials, exercise prescription for older adults, cognitive neuroscience, and mobility aging. Her research findings have been implemented into clinical practice, community programs, and influenced international practice guidelines to promote healthy aging.


Prof Dawn Skelton, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dawn Skelton is an exercise physiologist with a scientific research background. She is Professor in Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University. She Chaired the Royal Osteoporosis Society’s Statement on Exercise and Osteoporosis (2018) and the Older People panel for the UK’s update of the Physical Activity for Health Guidelines. Her recent research focuses on the determinants of sedentary behaviour, interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in older people, implementation of the FaME programme (translational research) and strength and balance awareness in older people, including co-creation of a Leisure offer in Wigan.


Plenary speakers:


- Ms Katrina Anne Potiki Bryant

- Prof Jacqui Close

- Prof Anne-Marie Hill

- Dr Andrea Maier

- Dr Yoshi Okubo

- Dr Courtney Ryder

- Prof Cathie Sherrington

- Dr Daina Sturnieks

- Dr Ruth Teh


Abstract Submission deadline (extended): 5th July 2021

Early-bird registration closes: 10th September 2021

Program Highlight

Older Aboriginal people in the Mirrabooka area celebrated two years of being engaged in a physical activity program. Members of the class reported feeling both physically and mentally stronger but above all enjoyed socialising and connecting with other older Aboriginal people in their community.

“For me it’s standing tall” Karen Williams the project officer explained. But it’s much more explained one of the men - It gives people some feeling.”

The weekly Ironbark program provides exercises and physical activity alongside yarning and morning tea. The program is part of a research project funded by Healthway and led by Curtin University with WA partners, including South West Aboriginal Medical Services.

The Ironbark project was originally designed and tested in NSW.

The research team comprised Professor Anne-Marie Hill, Professor Marion Kickett, PhD student Ms Margaret Gidgup and project officer Ms Karen Williams from Curtin University (pictured). They are now involved in conducting a larger trial “The Ironbark trial” funded by the NHMRC to evaluate whether the program can reduce falls and injury among older Aboriginal people.

"We train and fund participating Aboriginal organisations in NSW, SA and WA to deliver one of the programs with groups of 10 – 15 Aboriginal people for 12 months. Although we’ve had some set-backs due to COVID outbreaks and restrictions, we are proud to have recently started delivering Ironbark in partnership with 2 Aboriginal organisations in NSW, and will soon start working with more interested services." Sallie Cairnduff, Ironbark program manager


We have several new opportunities to be involved in our project in NSW, including:

  • A scholarship for a Masters level student to work on our implementation evaluation
  • EOIs for locally based physios to be involved in program delivery as groups come on board
  • Webinars and information for services interested in participating in Ironbark.


For more information about Ironbark visit our website or contact:

Sallie Cairnduff, Ironbark program manager


Ph: 2 9385 9137

Injury in Australia: falls

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021

The latest report on fall injuries in Australia was released in March, 2021. This report summarises key data on unintentional falls that result in hospitalisation or death.


Key points Include:

In 2017-18

  • Falls resulted in 222,725 hospitalisation cases or 989 per 100,000 population
  • Falls resulted in 5,156 deaths or 20.8 per 100,000 population
  • 58% of hospitalisations for unintentional falls and 95% of falls deaths were for people aged 65 and over
  • falls by females were more likely to be on the same level, (for example, by slipping, tripping or stumbling) or on steps. Males were more likely to have falls involving collisions, scaffolding, ladders, trees, playground equipment, skates, skis or skateboards, and building structures.

Since 2008-09 there has been

  • a 1.9% annual increase in falls hospitalisation rates to 2016-17
  • a 1.4% annual average increase in falls death rates to 2017-18

Research Update


The Screening and Intervention to Prevent Falls and Fractures in Older People Randomised Controlled Trial: Overview and Commentary

(Lamb et al, N Engl J Med 2020; 1848-1859)
Cameron Hicks1, Jessica Turner1, Stephen Lord1, Kim Delbaere1, Cathie Sherrington2
1 Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre, Neuroscience Research Australia
2 Institute of Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney

The Prevention of Fall Injury Trial (PreFIT) was commissioned by the UK National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme. This large multicentre pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial aimed to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of three alternative primary care interventions for preventing falls and fractures in community dwelling older adults. The three primary care interventions consisted of a) advice only, b) screening, advice and exercise and c) screening, advice and multifactorial falls prevention.


Our vision is to lead the way in fall prevention and other healthy ageing initiatives by harnessing expert knowledge and being collaborative in all we do.


We work closely with researchers, policy makers, health practitioners and community service providers in the development and promotion of healthy ageing services and programs with a focus on preventing falls and fall-related injury.


Our purpose is to support practitioners to improve the lives of older Australians through healthy ageing initiatives with a focus on preventing falls and fall-related injuries.


Do you have any news on Falls Prevention or healthy ageing that you want to share with others on the network, or report on a project that is happening in your area. We also welcome suggestions for articles and information you would like to see in this newsletter. Send your news and suggestions to: fallsnetwork@neura.edu.au

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Contact Us:

Telephone +61 2 9399 1063

Email fallsnetwork@neura.edu.au


Our mailing address is:
NSW Falls Prevention Network
Neuroscience Research Australia
PO Box 1165
Randwick NSW 2031


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