A multi-component cognitive behavioural intervention for the treatment of fear of falling after hip fracture (FIT-HIP): protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Maaike N. Scheffers-Barnhoorn*, Jolanda C. M. van Haastregt, Jos M. G. A. Schols, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen, Romke van Balen, Jan H. M. Visschedijk, Wilbert B. van den Hout, Eve M. Dumas, Wilco P. Achterberg, Monica van Eijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Hip fracture is a common injury in the geriatric population. Despite surgical repair and subsequent rehabilitation programmes, functional recovery is often limited, particularly in individuals with multi-morbidity. This leads to high care dependency and subsequent use of healthcare services. Fear of falling has a negative influence on recovery after hip fracture, due to avoidance of activity and subsequent restriction in mobility. Although fear of falling is highly prevalent after hip fracture, no structured treatment programme is currently available. This trial will evaluate whether targeted treatment of fear of falling in geriatric rehabilitation after hip fracture using a multi-component cognitive behavioural intervention (FIT-HIP), is feasible and (cost) effective in reducing fear of falling and associated activity restriction and thereby improves physical functioning.

Methods/design: This multicentre cluster randomised controlled trial will be conducted among older patients with hip fracture and fear of falling who are admitted to a multidisciplinary inpatient geriatric rehabilitation programme in eleven post-acute geriatric rehabilitation units. Fifteen participants will be recruited from each site. Recruitment sites will be allocated by computer randomisation to either the control group, receiving usual care, or to the intervention group receiving the FIT-HIP intervention in addition to usual care. The FIT-HIP intervention is conducted by physiotherapists and will be embedded in usual care. It consists of various elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, including guided exposure to feared activities (that are avoided by the participants). Participants and outcome assessors are blinded to group allocation. Follow-up measurements will be performed at 3 and 6 months after discharge from geriatric rehabilitation. (Cost)-effectiveness and feasibility of the intervention will be evaluated. Primary outcome measures are fear of falling and mobility.

Discussion: Targeted treatment of fear of falling may improve recovery and physical and social functioning after hip fracture, thereby offering benefits for patients and reducing healthcare costs. Results of this study will provide insight into whether fear of falling is modifiable in the (geriatric) rehabilitation after hip fracture and whether the intervention is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017


  • Fear of falling
  • Hip fracture
  • Geriatric rehabilitation
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

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