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Report on the KT-EQUAL Falls and Falls Prevention meeting, 18th March 2010, Bath

Bailbrook House, Bath, was the venue for this one-day meeting hosted jointly by the Universities of  Reading and Bath, and sponsored by KT-EQUAL. The meeting was convened to bring together academics and practitioners from across disciplines to discuss current developments in, and issues around, falls among older people and their prevention.

KT-EQUAL (Knowledge Transfer for Extending Quality Life) that replaced SPARC (Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity) from 2009, is an initiative that seeks to bring academics, practitioners, and policy makers together. To this end, KT-EQUAL regularly organises meetings for researchers to present their findings to audiences of  policy makers, older people  and practitioners,  so that research influences policy and practice (and vice versa). I have always found discussions at meetings to be invigorating when practitioners and policy makers are in the audience, as they typically ask different questions to academics and provide a different perspective to debates, and this occasion was no different.

This meeting on falls and falls prevention had high quality presentations from experts in the field. The presenters represented the fields of exercise physiology, psychology, geriatric medicine, and engineering. Presentations covered the current evidence for falls prevention interventions to reduce falls, aspects that facilitate / impede older people’s participation in such interventions, the role of falls clinics, medical conditions that increase the risk of falls, the patients’ experience of a falls risk assessment, and the role of technology to prevent and detect falls.

While the presentations were of high quality and brought those unfamiliar with this literature up to speed, the real benefit was the networking with fellow researchers in the field and practitioners whilst viewing posters and sampling the refreshments. Restricting the number of delegates to fit into a smaller venue facilitated networking and allowed for small group discussions on ways  of implementing research into practice and issues research has yet to address.

Details of the meeting including the programme and downloads of PowerPoint presentation handouts can be found online (http://www.sparc.ac.uk/workshops/2010-03-18-falls-prevention/).

If BSG members have not done so already, I would encourage them to sign up to receive news of future KT-EQUAL events and consider attending. Though be warned, these free  events are very popular! The KT-EQUAL / SPARC website can be found here: http://www.sparc.ac.uk

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