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Open Access Research article

Understanding, comprehensibility and acceptance of an evidence-based consumer information brochure on fall prevention in old age: a focus group study

Sabine Lins1, Andrea Icks2 and Gabriele Meyer1*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health, School of Nursing Science, University of Witten/Herdecke, Stockumer Straße 12, D-58453 Witten, Germany

2 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Moorenstraße 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

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BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-26

Published: 20 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Evidence-based patient and consumer information (EBPI) is an indispensable component of the patients' decision making process in health care. Prevention of accidental falls in the elderly has gained a lot of public interest during preceding years. Several consumer information brochures on fall prevention have been published; however, none fulfilled the criteria of an EBPI. Little is known about the reception of EBPI by seniors. Therefore we aimed to evaluate a recently developed EBPI brochure on fall prevention with regard to seniors' acceptance and comprehensibility in focus groups and to explore whether the participants' judgements differed depending on the educational background of the study participants.

Methods

Seven focus groups were conducted with 40 seniors, aged 60 years or older living independently in a community. Participants were recruited by two gatekeepers. A discussion guide was used and seniors were asked to judge the EBPI brochure on fall prevention using a Likert scale 1-6. The focus group discussions were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using content analysis.

Results

The participants generally accepted the EBPI brochure on fall prevention. Several participants expressed a need for more practical advice. The comprehensibility of the brochure was influenced positively by brief chapter summaries. Participants dismissed the statistical illustrations such as confidence intervals or a Fagan nomogram and only half of them agreed with the meta-information presented in the first chapter. The detailed information about fall prevalence was criticised by some seniors. The use of a case story was well tolerated by the majority of participants.

Conclusion

Our findings indicate that the recently developed EBPI brochure on fall prevention in old age was generally well accepted by seniors, but some statistical descriptions were difficult for them to understand. The brochure has to be updated. However, not all issues raised by the participants will be taken into account since some of them are contrary to the principles of EBPI.