Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess whether a multicomponent cognitive behavioral group intervention is preferable to usual care in terms of (healthcare) costs and effects on fear of falling and activity avoidance.
Methods: This economic evaluation was embedded in a randomized controlled trial among 540 community-living adults in the Netherlands, aged 70 years and older who reported fear of falling and fear-induced activity avoidance. The participants allocated to the intervention group received a multicomponent cognitive behavioral group intervention consisting of eight weekly sessions and a booster session. The sessions were aimed at instilling realistic views of falls, reducing fall risk, and increasing activity and safe behavior. Participants in the control group received usual care. Cost outcome measures were healthcare costs, and patient and family costs. Clinical outcomes were fear of falling and activity avoidance. All outcomes were assessed at baseline and at 2, 8, and 14 months by means of registration forms, self-administered questionnaires, and interviews by telephone.
Results: Participants were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 280) and control groups (n = 260). Costs for the intervention program were on average €276 per person. Total costs per person were comparable (€4,925 in intervention group and €4,828 in control group). Furthermore, favorable effects of the program were observed for fear of falling and activity avoidance.
Conclusions: This study showed that the intervention program is preferable to usual care in terms of costs and effects. The program had comparable costs and significantly reduced fear of falling and associated activity avoidance among older community-living persons.