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Abstract

Background: Effective fall prevention practices are essential for reducing falls among older adults. Rehabilitation professionals like physiotherapists are essential members of the fall prevention team, yet little is known about the experiences of physiotherapists practicing fall prevention in developing nations. Objective: To explore the experiences of physiotherapists in Nigeria who practice fall prevention among older adults. Method: We adopted a phenomenological approach to the traditional qualitative design in this study. We purposefully selected and conducted face-to-face interview with twelve physiotherapists who have treated at least one older adult who reported falling two or three times within last six months. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Four themes emerged from our participants: characteristics of recurrent fallers, fall prevention practices, hindrances to fall prevention, and strategies to promote fall prevention practices. In practice, understanding the characteristics (risk factors) of older adults with a history of recurrent falls is important for effective fall prevention practices among physiotherapists. Among other characteristics, our participants believed that older adults who have patronized “traditional bone setters/healer” are at the higher risk of having multiple falls. Conclusion: This study adds to the sparse amount of literature concerning the experience of physiotherapist in fall prevention practices in the developing world. More importantly, the findings of this study will strengthen or stimulate discussion around development of fall prevention strategies specific to the developing world context.

Author Bio(s)

Perpetua C Obi BMR.PT, MSc, is a physiotherapist practicing in Nigeria, focusing more on the geriatric population. She obtained her physiotherapy degree from the University of Nigeria and her MSc. Gerontology degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Henrietha C Nwankwo BMR.PT, MSc (s) is currently an MSc. Gerontology student at the University of Southampton and a physiotherapist trained at the University of Nigeria. He is also a licensed physiotherapist in Nigeria.

Diaemeta Emoefe BMR.PT, MSc completed his MSc. Gerontology degree from the University of Southampton, UK and obtained his bachelor's degree( Medical Rehabilitation in Physiotherapy) from the University of Nigeria. He is the head of the physiotherapy unit at the Humanity Hospital Limited, Warri, Delta State Nigeria.

Isreal Adandom BMR.PT, MSc(s), is currently completing his MSc. Gerontology from the University of Southampton, UK and obtained his physiotherapy degree from the University of Nigeria.

Michael E Kalu BMR.PT, MSc, PhD(s), is a physiotherapist and currently a doctoral student at the School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Acknowledgements

We want to acknowledge Dr. Athina Vlachantoni, her supervisory role in this MSc project at the University of Southampton. We will also like to acknowledge Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, as this project is a product of an MSc Scholarship. This is also attributed to the collective effort of the members of the Emerging Researchers & Professionals in Ageing- African Network (ERPAAN).

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