HHS Announces Falls Prevention Education Initiative and Funding
July 15, 2015 12:48 PM
In coordination with the White House Conference on Aging, the Administration announced a number of federal actions, as previously reported. Among the announced funding and programs were $4 million in new grants to address falls prevention, as well as a new Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) initiative that enables health professionals to receive continuing education credits for completing falls prevention training. The STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents Deaths & Injuries) initiative is an effort to make “falls prevention a routine part of clinical care.”
According to a press release from the US Department of Health and Human Services: “STEADI uses established clinical guidelines and tested interventions designed to help health care providers address their older patient’s fall risk, identify modifiable risk factors, and offer effective interventions. To help integrate STEADI into clinical practice, CDC is releasing an online STEADI course offering free continuing education credits to physicians, nurses, certified health education specialists, certified public health professionals and other professionals. The training will be available on CDC TRAIN starting on July 13, 2015. Users can search the keyword ‘STEADI’ to launch the training after creating an account, or logging into an existing account.”
Falls represent the leading cause of injury and death for those over the age of 65. According to the CDC, the total cost of fall injuries for older Americans was estimated to be $28.2 billion in 2010. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries was expected to reach $54.9 billion.
“People who are afraid of falling often limit their activities to avoid situations that might cause a fall,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator for Community Living Kathy Greenlee. “But limiting activities can diminish physical fitness, which makes a fall more likely.”
“That’s why HHS experts have developed tools to help doctors assess the risk for their older patients, and for community organizations to reduce that risk through evidence-based falls prevention programs that build strength and improve balance,” she said.
In addition to this initiative, the Administration announced $4 million in HHS grants to fund prevention efforts in seven states for more than 18,000 older Americans over the next two years. The purpose of the grants, according to HHS, is to “increase participation in evidence-based community programs to reduce falls and falls risk, and also improve the programs’ long-term sustainability.”
The grant recipients include:
Dartmouth Center for Healthy Aging, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center & Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (ACO), N.H.
Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, Wisc.
New York State Department of Health, N.Y.
The Oasis Institute, Mo.
New Jersey Department of Human Services, N.J.
Partners in Care Foundation, Calif.
United Way of Tarrant County, Texas
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice as part of the Falls Free Coalition Initiativehas called for a greater focus on falls prevention efforts including public outreach about the risks of this leading cause of injury and fatality for those over 65. Home care provides many seniors who suffer falls with high-quality, cost-effective treatment and support, allowing them to return to their homes and communities and remain independent as long as possible. Previous coverage of some of NAHC’s efforts to improve falls prevention is available here.
For more information about opportunities available under the CDC education initiative, STEADI, please click here. In addition to resources for health professionals, the STEADI initiative has also made available education materials for patients here.