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BACKGROUND: Falls impose significant health and economic burdens among older populations, making their prevention a priority. Health economic models can inform whether the falls prevention intervention represents a cost-effective use of resources and/or meet additional objectives such as reducing social inequities of health. This study aims to conduct a systematic review (SR) of community-based falls prevention economic models to: (i) systematically identify such models; (ii) synthesise and critically appraise modelling methods/results; and (iii) formulate methodological and commissioning recommendations. METHODS: The SR followed PRISMA 2021 guideline, covering the period 2003-2020, 12 academic databases and grey literature. A study was included if it: targeted community-dwelling persons aged 60 and over and/or aged 50-59 at high falls risk; evaluated intervention(s) designed to reduce falls or fall-related injuries; against any comparator(s); reported outcomes of economic evaluation; used decision modelling; and had English full text. Extracted data fields were grouped by: (A) model and evaluation overview; (B) falls epidemiology features; (C) falls prevention intervention features; and (D) evaluation methods and outcomes. A checklist for falls prevention economic evaluations was used to assess reporting/methodological quality. Extracted fields were narratively synthesised and critically appraised to inform methodological and commissioning recommendations. The SR protocol is registered in the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42021232147). RESULTS: Forty-six models were identified. The most prevalent issue according to the checklist was non-incorporation of all-cause care costs. Based on general population, lifetime models conducting cost-utility analyses, seven interventions produced favourable ICERs relative to no intervention under the cost-effectiveness threshold of US$41,900 (£30,000) per QALY gained; of these, results for (1) combined multifactorial and environmental intervention, (2) physical activity promotion for women, and (3) targeted vitamin D supplementation were from validated models. Decision-makers should explore the transferability and reaches of interventions in their local settings. There was some evidence that exercise and home modification exacerbate existing social inequities of health. Sixteen methodological recommendations were formulated. CONCLUSION: There is significant methodological heterogeneity across falls prevention models. This SR's appraisals of modelling methods should facilitate the conceptualisation of future falls prevention models. Its synthesis of evaluation outcomes, though limited to published evidence, could inform commissioning.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Accidental Falls, Aged, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Exercise, Female, Humans, Independent Living, Middle Aged, Models, Economic