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A Higher dose of vitamin D reduces the risk of falls in Nursing home residents

Elderly nursing home residents have a high risk of falls and are often deficient in vitamin D.  Fall-related fracture and injury is a serious problem affecting the quality of life and cost of healthcare for these elderly nursing home residents.  Effective interventions to reduce falls are needed in those at high risk of falling.

To determine the effect vitamin D supplement doses on falls risk in elderly nursing home residents, 124 nursing home residents (average age 89) in a 725-bed long-term care facility were randomly assigned to receive one of four vitamin D supplement doses (200 IU, 400 IU, 600 IU, or 800 IU) or placebo daily for 5 months.  Number of fallers and number of falls were assessed using facility incident tracking database.

Over the 5-month study period, the proportion of participants with falls was 44% in the placebo group (11/25), 58% (15/26) in the 200 IU group, 60% (15/25) in the 400 IU group, 60% (15/25) in the 600 IU group, and 20% (5/23) in the 800 IU group. Participants in the 800 IU group had a 72% lower adjusted-incidence rate ratio of falls than those taking placebo over the 5 months. No significant differences were observed for the adjusted fall rates compared to placebo in any of the other supplement groups.

This study indicates that nursing home residents in the highest vitamin D group (800 IU) had a lower number of fallers and a lower incidence rate of falls over 5 months than those taking lower doses. Adequate vitamin D supplementation in elderly nursing home residents could reduce the number of falls experienced by this high falls risk group.

Source: J Am Geriatr Soc 2007;55:234-239

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