Effectiveness of a self-managed digital exercise programme to prevent falls in older community-dwelling adults: study protocol for the Safe Step randomised controlled trial

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INTRODUCTION: Exercise interventions have a strong evidence base for falls prevention. However, exercise can be challenging to implement and often has limited reach and poor adherence. Digital technology provides opportunities for both increased access to the intervention and support over time. Further knowledge needs to be gained regarding the effectiveness of completely self-managed digital exercise interventions. The main objective of this study is to compare the effectiveness of a self-managed digital exercise programme, Safe Step, in combination with monthly educational videos with educational videos alone, on falls over 1 year in older community-dwelling adults.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A two-arm parallel randomised controlled trial will be conducted with at least 1400 community-living older adults (70+ years) who experience impaired balance. Participants will be recruited throughout Sweden with enrolment through the project website. They will be randomly allocated to either the Safe Step exercise programme with additional monthly educational videos about healthy ageing and fall prevention, or the monthly education videos alone. Participants receiving the exercise intervention will be asked to exercise at home for at least 30 min, 3 times/week with support of the Safe Step application. The primary outcome will be rate of falls (fall per person year). Participants will keep a fall calendar and report falls at the end of each month through a digital questionnaire. Further assessments of secondary outcomes will be made through self-reported questionnaires and a self-test of 30 s chair stand test at baseline and 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after study start. Data will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained by The Regional Ethical Review Board in Umeå (Dnr 2018/433-31). Findings will be disseminated through the project web-site, peer-reviewed journals, national and international conferences and through senior citizen organisations' newsletters.



  • Beatrice Pettersson
  • Lillemor Lundin-Olsson
  • Dawn A Skelton
  • Per Liv
  • Magnus Zingmark
  • Erik Rosendahl
  • Marlene Sandlund
Externa organisationer
  • Umeå University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Östersund kommun

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Sjukgymnastik
Sidor (från-till)e036194
TidskriftBMJ Open
Utgåva nummer5
StatusPublished - 2020 maj 17
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa

Bibliografisk information

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.