Summary: Falls in older people result in substantial health burden. Compelling evidence indicates that falls can be prevented. We developed comprehensive guidelines for economic evaluations of fall prevention interventions to facilitate publication of high-quality economic evaluations of the effective strategies and aid decision making.
Introduction: The importance of economics applied to falls and fall prevention in older people has largely been overlooked. The use of different methodologies to assess the costs and health benefits of the interventions and their comparators and the inconsistent reporting in the studies limits the usefulness of these economic evaluations for decision making. We developed guidelines to encourage and facilitate completion of high-quality economic evaluations of effective fall prevention strategies.
Methods: We used a generic checklist for economic evaluations as a platform to develop comprehensive guidelines for conducting and reporting economic evaluations of fall prevention strategies. We considered the many challenges involved, particularly in identifying, measuring, and valuing the relevant cost items.
Results: We recommend researchers include cost outcomes and report incremental cost-effectiveness ratios in terms of falls prevented and quality adjusted life years in all clinical trials of fall prevention interventions. Studies should include the following cost categories: (1) implementing the intervention, (2) delivering the comparator group intervention, (3) total health care costs, (4) costs of fall-related health care resource use, and (5) personal and informal carer opportunity costs.
Conclusions: This paper provides a timely benchmark to promote comparability and consistency for conducting and reporting economic evaluations of fall prevention strategies.