Evidence-Based Fall Reduction Program for Senior Living Communities: A Pilot Program

Monday, 7 July 2008: 11:10 AM
Karen V. Lamb, DNP , College of Nursing, Rush University/ Mather LifeWays, Chicago, IL

Learning Objective 1: discuss barriers to implementing an evidence- based fall reduction program in senior living communities.

Learning Objective 2: analyze findings from the SAFE-TI Fall Reduction Pilot Program.

As the leading cause of injury-related death, falls are a foremost safety issue for adults age 65 and older. In 2003 more than 13,700 deaths of older adults were caused by fall-related injuries. In 2000, the direct medical costs for falls among older adults were approximately $19 billion. Older adults, regardless of living setting are at risk for falls and associated injuries. It has been estimated that 30% of community-dwelling older adults fall at least once each year. The problem is even more pronounced in nursing homes, with 50% of residents falling annually and the consequences more likely to be a serious injury such as a laceration, fracture, or need for hospital care. Studies in continuing care retirement communities have estimated fall rates between 34 and 57%.

SAFE-TI, the Fall Reduction Program used current evidence to provide Continuing Care Retirement Communities with the knowledge and tools needed to implement a comprehensive approach to implementing a fall reduction program. This approach includes a “train-the-trainer” educational session that provides a hands-on approach to using the toolkit. Unique aspects of the SAFE-TI program include a focus on self-assessment of risks by residents and an exercise component that emphasizes strength and balance training. The toolkit is comprised of assessment tools and specific-risk based nursing interventions. In addition the SAFE-TI program includes detailed information on implementing a multidisciplinary fall reduction committee.

Thirteen senior living communities participated in the 6 month evaluation of the program. The overall effectiveness of the training program was rated a 3.8 on a scale of 1 - 4. Findings from the participants' ratings of usefulness of components of the toolkit will be outlined. Fall rates and injury rates pre and post implementation of the SAFE-TI program will be presented. Finally, barriers to program implementation identified by participating organizations will be discussed.