Preventive treatment options for fear of falling within the Swiss healthcare system

Lenouvel, Eric; Novak, Lan; Biedermann, Andreas; Kressig, Reto W.; Klöppel, Stefan (2022). Preventive treatment options for fear of falling within the Swiss healthcare system. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie, 55(7), pp. 597-602. Springer 10.1007/s00391-021-01957-w

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Fear of falling (FoF) results in social, functional, physical, and psychological symptoms, including secondary disorders, such as depression and general anxiety disorder (GAD). A vicious cycle develops, where symptoms maintain and reinforce FoF and its consequences, including increasing the risk of falling. In this position paper, we suggest screening for FoF using the falls efficacy scale international (FES-I) questionnaire. The presence of a high score (> 23) warrants an investigation into frailty and exclusion of depression and GAD, during the clinical interview. Stratifying frailty, based on the Fried frailty criteria will guide treatment options based on the most significant health concerns. Frail older adults should first receive physiotherapy and exercise interventions, as physical disabilities are their most significant characteristic, while pre-frail and non-frail older adults should receive multicomponent interventions, consisting of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with physical exercise. The non-frail with predominantly GAD and depression should receive specialized CBT interventions. Currently, only exercise interventions are available for FoF treatment in Switzerland. Although some exercise interventions use CBT elements, such as goal setting and reflections on behavior and feelings, they are not systematically used, are not part of a quality-assured procedure, and do not address the psychological-cognitive aspects of FoF. As the pre-frail and non-frail are the largest groups to use these services, adapting current exercise programs by incorporating a CBT component would be the most practical means to provide optimized care.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Lenouvel, Eric William, Novak, Lan, Klöppel, Stefan


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Katharina Klink

Date Deposited:

18 Jan 2022 10:04

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2023 13:47

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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