Between 20% and 28% of community-dwelling older people experience a fall each year. Falls can result in significant personal and socioeconomic costs, and are the leading cause of admission to hospital for an older person in Australia. Exercise interventions that target balance are the most effective for preventing falls in community-dwellers; however, greater accessibility of effective programmes is needed. As technology has become more accessible, its use as a tool for supporting and promoting health and well-being of individuals has been explored. Little is known about the effectiveness of eHealth technologies to deliver fall prevention interventions. This protocol describes a systematic review with meta-analysis that aims to evaluate the effect of eHealth fall prevention interventions compared with usual care control on balance in people aged 65 years and older living in the community.
We will perform a systematic search of the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL Complete, Embase and PsychINFO and citation search of Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed Central, Cochrane Database Central and PEDro for randomised controlled trials that use an eHealth technology to deliver a fall prevention intervention to community-dwellers aged ≥65 years, that are published in English, and include a balance outcome (primary outcome). The screening and selection of articles for review will be undertaken by two independent reviewers. The PEDro scale and Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations will be used to assess study quality. The results will be synthesised descriptively, and if sufficient data are available and the studies are not overly heterogeneous, a meta-analysis will be conducted using the random effects model.
As this will be a systematic review, without involvement of human participants, there will be no requirement for ethical approval. The results of this systematic review will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and dissemination to policymakers and consumers to maximise health impact.