Fall Prevention and Management for Older Adults
About 25% of community-dwelling adults fall every year, resulting in annual medical costs of at least $19 billion in the United States. Over the past 30 years, researchers have made remarkable progress in developing effective interventions to prevent and manage falls, which include fall-risk assessment, medical management, physical activity, and home modification. However, these multifactorial programs are sometimes difficult to implement and sustain. In addition, the underlying risk of falls is often a result of chronic problems. This article describes fall prevention and management activities from a chronic care perspective that may help researchers, practitioners, and policymakers better understand existing programs and services. The authors propose a “no wrong door” approach to fall prevention and management, in which older adults at risk of falls are evaluated across three domains – physical activity, medical risks, and home safety. Trained providers would then connect the patients and their caregivers to programs and services that address the identified risk in the most appropriate manner. For the successful implementation and sustainability of such programs, collaboration among multiple providers, patients and their caregivers is necessary.
Ganz D, Alkema G, and Wu S. It Takes a Village to Prevent Falls: Reconceptualizing Fall Prevention and Management for Older Adults. Injury Prevention August 2008;14(4):266-71.
Dr. Ganz is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Dr. Alkema is part of HSR&D’s Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior in Sepulveda, CA.