CONNECT for Better Falls Prevention in VA Community Living Centers

This study has been completed.
Duke University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs Identifier:
First received: February 2, 2009
Last updated: October 7, 2014
Last verified: October 2014

February 2, 2009
October 7, 2014
February 2010
October 2011   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
fall-related process measures, fall rates [ Time Frame: 6 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00836433 on Archive Site
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CONNECT for Better Falls Prevention in VA Community Living Centers
CONNECT for Better Falls Prevention in VA Community Living Centers

This is a randomized trial of 2 nursing home staff educational approaches to reduce falls in VA nursing home (CLC) residents. One is a traditional falls education program using web-based modules, feedback of quality indicators, and meetings with influential peers. The other is a 12 week program that trains staff to form better connections and use effective communication strategies with a diverse network of co-workers, so that problem solving about resident problems is enhanced. The study will test whether the second intervention increases the effectiveness of the traditional falls education program.


The current standard to improve resident outcomes in VA nursing homes combines educational programs and quality improvement processes. These educational programs typically focus on individual staff members' behavior and mastery of content, and use such instructional techniques as didactic modules, audit and feedback of individual performance, and academic detailing by influential peers. However, social constructivism theory and complexity science suggests that learning is a social process that occurs within the context of the relationships and interactions of the individual in their environment. Thus, traditional QI educational programs will not result in optimal changes in staff behavior unless a context is present which allows social learning to occur.


Based on social constructivist theory, complexity science, and prior research we have developed an educational intervention (CONNECT) that teaches staff to improve connections within and between disciplines, improve information flow, and seek out cognitive diversity in problem-solving about resident issues. The objectives of this study are to: (a) determine whether CONNECT improves staff interaction measures, fall-related process measures, and fall rates when combined with standard training on fall risk factor reduction, and (b) use the insights gained about social constructivist learning in CLCs to develop other educational interventions that address multi-factorial geriatric syndromes and system issues such as patient safety in VA nursing homes.


To achieve these objectives we are conducting a randomized, controlled, single-blind study in which nursing homes receive either CONNECT plus a falls QI educational intervention (FALLS) or FALLS alone. Four VA CLCs in VISN-6 will participate, with an estimated n=144 participating staff members, and n=340 unique individuals with falls. The CONNECT intervention will be delivered over 3 months, and includes interactive in-class learning sessions, unit-based mentoring, and relationship mapping, all focused on helping staff build networks and relationships for problem-solving. The FALLS intervention will be delivered over 3 months either alone or after the CONNECT intervention. It includes web-based modules, audit and feedback, and academic detailing, all focused on individual fall reduction behaviors. Measurement is performed prior to intervention (all measures), at the conclusion of intervention (staff interaction measures, work environment measures, and social constructivist learning focus groups), and 6 months after the intervention (fall-related process and outcome measures). Analysis will use mixed models to account for the complex nesting of patients and staff within facilities.


Funding will begin on August 1, 2009 with anticipated intervention start time of January, 2010.

Phase 3
Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Accidental Falls
  • Behavioral: CONNECT educational intervention
    Training program for staff to improve communication with a more dense network of co-workers, in order to improve resident problem-solving
  • Behavioral: FALLS educational intervention
    Traditional falls quality improvement education program including online modules, audit and feedback, and academic detailing sessions
  • Active Comparator: Arm 1
    Traditional falls educational intervention
    Intervention: Behavioral: FALLS educational intervention
  • Experimental: Arm 2
    CONNECT intervention on relationship-building and communication
    • Behavioral: CONNECT educational intervention
    • Behavioral: FALLS educational intervention

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
August 2012
October 2011   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • All clinical and support staff in participating VA Community Living Centers

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Inability to speak and understand English
Not Provided
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
EDU 08-417
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
Duke University
Principal Investigator: Cathleen S. Colon-Emeric, MD VA Medical Center, Durham
Department of Veterans Affairs
October 2014

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP