Prevention of Falls Network Europe: a thematic network aimed at introducing good practice in effective falls prevention across Europe.
Skelton DA., Becker C., Lamb SE., Close JCT., Zijlstra W., Yardley L., Todd CJ.
The Prevention of Falls Network Europe (ProFaNE) aims to improve quality of life of the ageing population by focussing on a major cause of disability and distress: falls. The thematic network is funded by the European Commission and brings together scientists, clinicians and other health professionals from around Europe to focus on four main themes: taxonomy and coordination of trials, clinical assessment and management of falls, assessment of balance function, and psychological aspects of falling. There are 24 members across Europe as well as network associates who contribute expertise at workshops and meetings. ProFaNE, a 4-year project which started in January 2003, aims to improve and standardise health care processes, introducing and promoting good practice widely across Europe. ProFaNE undertakes workshops that bring together experts and observers around specific topics to exchange knowledge, expertise and resources on interventions that reduce falls. A key document for policy makers around Europe, written by ProFaNE members, was published by the World Health Organisation in March 2004. ProFaNE's website has both public and private areas with resources (web links to falls prevention, useful documents for policy makers, researchers and practitioners) and a discussion board to encourage informal networking between members and the public. The ultimate aim of ProFaNE is to submit a collaborative bid to undertake a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of a multi-factorial fall prevention intervention with peripheral fracture as the primary outcome. The success of the networking and relationship building in the first year and a half of ProFaNE's work makes this an achievable goal.