CDC’s New Clinical Tools Help Prevent Older Adult Falls
CDC released two new complimentary clinical tools to help healthcare providers reduce older adult falls. The Coordinated Care Plan to Prevent Older Adult Falls offers primary care providers, practices, and healthcare systems a framework for implementing a Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries, or STEADI-based clinical fall prevention program in primary care settings to manage older patients’ fall risk. Complementing the Coordinated Care Plan, the STEADI: Evaluation Guide for Older Adult Clinical Fall Prevention Programsdescribes key steps to measuring and reporting on the success of implementing a STEADI-based clinical fall prevention program. CDC recommends using both the Coordinated Care Plan and the Evaluation Guide simultaneously to ensure the team is able to collect the data needed to report on the clinical fall prevention program’s overall success.
Older adult falls are the leading cause of all fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults age 65 and over in the United States, accounting for over 3 million emergency department visits, 962,000 hospitalizations, and approximately 30,000 deaths in 2016. Additionally, the economic impact of falls and fall deaths is nearly $50 billion in direct medical costs each year.
Although falls are costly, they are preventable. CDC’s STEADI initiative offers a coordinated approach to implementing the American and British Geriatrics Societies’ clinical practice guideline for fall prevention. STEADI consists of three core elements: Screen, Assess, and Intervene to reduce fall risk by offering tailored interventions to reduce fall risk.
For successful implementation of fall prevention activities in primary care settings, the Coordinated Care Plan outlines 12 steps incorporating practical suggestions. These recommendations include how to assess the clinic’s readiness to address older adult falls, identify a fall prevention champion, train staff, and work within the existing clinic workflow to incorporate the fall prevention program, thereby reducing falls among community-dwelling older adults.
As May begins Older Americans Month, see what you can do to help prevent falls. More than 90% of older adults see a medical provider at least once a year, giving clinicians the opportunity to inform and empower older adults to address one or more specific fall risk factors. Reducing falls improves health, fosters independence, and reduces healthcare spending. Help keep your older adult patients safe, independent, and STEADI.
To learn more visit www.cdc.gov/steadi