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A qualitative study of older adults' facilitators, barriers, and cues to action to engage in falls prevention using health belief model constructs.

Vincenzo JL, Patton SK, Lefler LL, McElfish PA, Wei J, Curran GM. A qualitative study of older adults' facilitators, barriers, and cues to action to engage in falls prevention using health belief model constructs. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2022 Mar 1; 99:104610.

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. Decreasing falls is highly dependent on engagement in fall prevention activities. The Health Belief Model (HBM) theoretical framework was used to explore older adults' perceptions about falls prevention. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: An informed grounded theory approach was applied. Four focus groups were conducted using semi-structured interview guides based on the HBM with 27 community-dwelling older adults (average age  =  78 years). Deductive content analysis was used to apply constructs of the HBM to the data and explain the findings. RESULTS: Potential reasons for not engaging in falls prevention included lack of self-perceived severity, susceptibility, and self-efficacy with a subtheme of lack of information about falls prevention from medical providers. Potential facilitators included older adults' knowledge and current engagement in falls prevention and socializing while engaging in falls prevention. Participants recommended cues to action to improve engagement in falls prevention from family, friends, physicians, pharmacists, and insurance companies; and using various modes to deliver cues to action, including print, audiovisual, online, and reminders. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: In this study, the HBM was used to understand older adults' potential barriers, facilitators, and cues to action to support engagement in falls prevention. Engagement in fall prevention behaviors could be improved by addressing barriers such as lack of knowledge, and lack of self-perceived severity and susceptibility to falls. Reinforcing the benefits of fall prevention, and promoting cues to action to engage in falls prevention may also support engagement.

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