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Queensland Stay On Your Feet®- Step 4C: Measure Outcomes

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Step 4C: Measure outcomes

Measuring the outcomes of your project/program determines whether it has met the ultimate goal of reducing falls, fall related injury, deaths (mortality) and disabilities (morbidity) and increasing healthy active ageing. It also determines whether any aspects of the project/program are sustainable [22, 23, 24].

Outcome evaluation is measured at the completion of the project/program and can be followed up every one, two, five or 10 years [4]. For ongoing programs, it can be measured on a regular basis.

Research suggests that it is unwise to have ‘reduced injury rates' as a sole outcome measure as this requires very large sample sizes followed over a long period of time and requires the assistance of skilled epidemiologists [17]. If falls prevention projects/programs run for less than two years, a statistically significant reduction in falls is unlikely.

Has your program made a difference?You can also look at the outcomes of your falls prevention project/program more broadly, by considering multiple measures [90] such as:

  • health outcomes
  • quality of life outcomes
  • economic outcomes
  • community and social outcomes
  • sustainability outcomes.

More information about each of these measures is provided below.

OutcomesMeasures More information
Health outcomes
  • Health outcomes can be measured using self-reported falls recorded in a diary
  • hospital emergency department presentations for falls related injuries
  • fall related hospital admissions
  • fall related injuries (sought medical care without hospital admission)
  • hip fractures
Quality of life outcomesQuality of life measures a person's perception of their health and wellbeing. Measuring quality of life is relevant, as falls, fractures and the fear of falling all have a significant impact on an individual's physical, social and psychological functioning [27].
Economic outcomes

Falls contribute to a large amount of costs, and therefore influence economic outcomes through:

  • direct health care costs such as hospital costs, doctor's visits, nursing care, rehabilitation, mobility aids, outpatient clinics and diagnostic tests [71]
  • indirect costs such as the loss to society of the paid and unpaid productive efforts of both the person who fell and their carer/s [72]
  • lifetime costs (the combination of the direct costs plus the indirect costs) [72].
  • Falls statistics
  • Fact sheet: Cost of hospitalisations due to fall-related
    injuries among people aged 65 years and over in
    Queensland, 2006-07 to 2008-09
  • Fact sheet: Falls resulting in injury in Queensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data, 2007-08
Community and social

Evaluating community and social outcomes can determine whether the project/program and the desired health behaviour and outcomes will be maintained. For example, if the social attitude is that 'it is too late for people over 60 years to get any benefit from exercise' then people over 60 years will not be supported by society, media, family, friends and carers to undertake physical activity. Community and social outcomes can be measured through:

  • changes in other people's attitudes to falls, falls prevention and healthy active ageing
  • changes in relevant services eg. more physical activity programs
  • more relevant products available eg. shops stocking safer footwear
  • support systems eg. council bus providing transport to physical activity programs
  • changes to the environment eg. footpaths being repaired or built, increased public seating, handrails and non-slip edges on all stairs and ramps
  • reduced social isolation and improved community connectedness through regular community events and activities
  • improved quality of life.
  • Community stocktake
Sustainability outcomesEvaluating sustainability determines whether changes made by your project/program will be maintained over time [22, 89, 90].

Consider next steps

Tools and templatesPicture icon for tools and templates heading Outcome evaluation tools

Ready for the next step?Go to Step 4D: Share and celebrate results

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Last updated: 6 August 2012