Implementing a Clinically Based Fall Prevention Program

Judy A. Stevens, Matthew Lee Smith, Erin M. Parker, Luohua Jiang, Frank D. Floyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction. Among people aged 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. The burden of falls is expected to increase as the US population ages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) initiative to help primary care providers incorporate fall risk screening, assessment of patients’ modifiable risk factors, and implementation of evidence-based treatment strategies. Methods. In 2010, CDC funded the New York State Department of Health to implement STEADI in primary care sites in selected communities. The Medical Director of United Health Services championed integrating fall prevention into clinical practice and oversaw staff training. Components of STEADI were integrated into the health system’s electronic health record (EHR), and fall risk screening questions were added to the nursing staff’s patient intake forms. Results. In the first 12 months, 14 practices saw 10 702 patients aged 65 and older. Of these, 8457 patients (79.0%) were screened for fall risk and 1534 (18.1%) screened positive. About 52% of positive patients completed the Timed Up and Go gait and balance assessment. Screening declined to 49% in the second 12 months, with 21% of the patients screening positive. Conclusions. Fall prevention can be successfully integrated into primary care when it is supported by a clinical champion, coupled with timely staff training/retraining, incorporated into the EHR, and adapted to fit into the practice workflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • elderly
  • fall prevention
  • falls
  • falls program implementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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