Purpose/Objectives: Determine the efficacy of a fall-prevention skills training program for patients with cancer and family caregivers.
Design: Randomized, controlled trial with repeated measures and postintervention measure of fall occurrence.
Setting: A comprehensive cancer center in the midwestern United States.
Sample: 132 patient and family caregiver dyads.
Methods: Dyads were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a control group that received standard fall-prevention education or a treatment group that received standard education and a fall-prevention DVD program to view at home. Participants completed surveys at baseline, one week, one month, and three months. Follow-up phone calls were made at three months.
Main Research Variables: Fall occurrence, perceptions of fall risks, and fall-prevention knowledge.
Findings: Patients in the treatment group were significantly more likely to report not falling at three months than patients in the control group. The number of falls was lower for the treatment group. The difference was not statistically significant. Dyads in the treatment group showed significantly greater improvement over time in fall risk awareness and fall-prevention knowledge.
Conclusions: Mobility skills training is a promising educational intervention for reducing fall occurrences in the home for patients with cancer.
Implications for Nursing: Efforts are needed for improving the knowledge and skills of cancer survivors and their family members in recognizing patient fall risks, making home adjustments, and performing mobility skills competently.