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Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition

History of the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition:
Kentucky established an Injury Community Planning Group (ICPG) called the Kentucky Safety and Prevention Alignment Network (KSPAN). Partial support was provided by funding from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Integrated Core Injury Prevention and Control (ICIPC) program. After reviewing data, KSPAN identified falls of older adults as one of its injury priorities. In June of 2008 a symposium, “Prevention of Senior Falls in the Home and Community,” was held, and it was decided that KSPAN would coordinate the formation of a statewide fall prevention coalition. In October 2008, the coalition held its first meeting on fall prevention for older adults in the home and community. Efforts continue to be focused on engaging key partners, disseminating data, and supporting the formation of local coalitions across Kentucky. While the coalition maintains its focus on fall prevention, its membership decided to expand its mission to include all forms of injury and violence prevention for older adults, and thus adopted the name KY Safe Aging Coalition (KSAC). During our first year of development, the focus has been primarily on fall prevention in the home and community. Recently, the coalition has started a workgroup looking at fall and injury prevention for institutionalized older adults.

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition
The coalition continues to grow and add valuable new members, but the following is a listing of organizations that took the initial lead in forming a statewide coalition:
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), Hospice of the Bluegrass, Kentucky Safety and Prevention Alignment Network (ICPG), Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), University of Kentucky Trauma Prevention Program, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) and the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky.

Goals and objectives of the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition:
Our vision is to form a comprehensive and collaborative approach to keeping older adults healthy and independent by identifying and reducing risk factors for injury. The coalition desires to share injury prevention strategies that exist today and to develop the resources required to ensure a healthy aging population across Kentucky.

The mission of the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition is to work in partnership to assist older adults in Kentucky to maximize their independence and quality of life by reducing the risk and incidence of injury.

Currently our efforts are primarily focused on:

  • Reducing the incidence and severity of fall-related injuries involving community dwelling older adults.
  • Reducing the incidence and severity of fall-related injuries involving institutionalized older adults.

Funding for the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition has been provided by:

  • Core support through our ICIPC agreement with CDC
  • Many organizations have provided supplemental funding and/or services in-kind, including the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and Cooperative Extension, Chronic Disease Branch of the Kentucky Dept. for Public Health, Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Kentucky Pharmacists Association, Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), AARP, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, Health Care Excel, Body Recall Inc, Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities and Hospice of the Bluegrass.
  • Regional and local fall prevention coalition efforts covering a total of 18 counties have been supported in Green River Health District, Barren River Health District, Lake Cumberland Health District, and Madison County Health Department.

Organizations playing a key role in the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition: (alphabetical order)
AARP, American College of Emergency Physicians, Barren River District Health Dept, Body Recall Inc., Brain Injury Association of Kentucky, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Care Tenders, CHFS/DAIL - TBI Program, Danville - Boyle County Senior Center, Dept for Community-Based Services, EKU Department of Occupational Therapy, EKU Occupational therapist & gerontologist, Faith in Action: Elder Outreach, Georgetown Community Hospital, Green River Area Development District, Green River District Health Dept, Health Care Excel of KY, Homebuilders Association of Frankfort, Homebuilders' Assoc. of the Bluegrass, Hospice of the Bluegrass, Jessamine County Health Department, KDPH/Health and Wellness, Kentucky Department for Public Health, Kentucky Adult Center Association, Kentucky Injury Prevention & Research Ctr., KIPDA Area Agency on Aging, KY Assoc. Health Care Facilities, KY Assoc. of Hospice and Palliative Care, KY Dept. for Aging and Independent Living, KY Optometric Association, KY Pharmacists Association, KY State Retirement System, Lake Cumberland District Health Dept, Liberty Ridge, Senior Living Community, Lifeline Home Health Care, Lourdes Homecare, Madison County Health Department, Mindful Movement/Select Specialty Hospital, National Safety Council, Northern KY District Health Dept., Purchase Area Development District, AAA, Scott County Homebuilders' Association, Senior Pharmacy Solutions©, Susan Bachner Consulting LLC, University of Kentucky (UKY); UKY College of Public Health; UKY COOP Extension; UKY Division of Physical Therapy; UKY Department of Kinesiology; UKY Elder Care, Office of Work life; UKY Graduate Center for Gerontology; UKY Graduate Students; UKY Trauma Outreach; UKY CPH Council on Aging; UKY Physicians Assistance Program; University of Louisville Trauma Outreach; Western Kentucky University, Center for Gerontology, VA Hospital, Lexington KY.

Structure and function of the steering committee:
The Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition meets regularly every other month and holds conference calls and workgroup sessions as needed. Several of the organizations that took the lead in forming the coalition currently fulfill the functions of a steering committee; a more formal structure for the steering committee is currently under discussion.

2-3 challenges encountered:

  • As with most coalition building efforts, securing sufficient resources continues to be a challenge.
  • Due to the geography of the state, reaching its whole population remains a challenge.
  • Translating the research evidence into policies and practices that will impact community-dwelling older adults on a large scale.
  • Estimating the true costs and burden of falls to local communities and the state.

2-3 successes to share:

  • Designation of falls as a priority in Kentucky’s state injury prevention plan
  • Four local health departments were selected to receive osteoporosis state funding to develop local coalitions or task forces to address older adult falls prevention at the local level. The local coalitions developed community action plans with goals, objectives and strategies to implement during the following year. Technical assistance is provided to the local coalitions through the Safe Aging Coalition. KIPRC is working with the Department for Public Health and local coalitions to identify opportunities to improve education and referrals by local providers who encounter or treat older adults who have fallen.
  • The KY Safe Aging Coalition participated in the national Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22nd, 2009. Governor Steve Beshear proclaimed Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and the Safe Aging Coalition worked with partners from around the state to conduct awareness activities. Press releases were distributed to state and local media outlets from the Dept. for Public Health, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Healthcare Excel. Activities were planned in 37 communities around the state.
  • The Safe Aging Coalition worked with the Kentucky Pharmacists Association to create a fall prevention fact sheet for distribution to older adults through pharmacists and other groups. The fact sheet was printed and distributed by the Kentucky Pharmacists Association and posted on their web site in September 2009 to support Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
  • On November 5th, 2009, coalition member Anne Harrison, PT, PhD gave an invited presentation on Fall Prevention for Older Adults and KSAC’s activities to the Special Advisory Commission of Senior Citizens’ Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
  • The University of Kentucky Extension Service is developing fact sheets on fall prevention that will be distributed statewide

Outcomes being monitored:
In this early development phase there are several outcomes being monitored including:

  • Number of providers and organizations involved in the fall prevention coalition;
  • New partnerships with groups and organizations involved with preventing or controlling chronic disease;
  • Activities of coalition members;
  • Activities and outcomes of regional/county coalitions in different areas of Kentucky; and
  • Fall-related deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

For additional information about the Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition and how you can be involved in this exciting work please contact either:

Jennye M. Grider
Kentucky Department for Public Health
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-7996, ext. 3795
(502) 564-4667 (FAX)

Steve Sparrow
Kentucky InjuryPrevention &Research Center
SPAN Program Coordinator
333 Waller Avenue , Suite 206
Lexington KY 40504-2915
Phone (859) 257-9484







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