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Maine Falls Prevention Coalition

History of the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition:
Maine Falls Prevention Coalition was spawned as an extension of the Matter of Balance Project Advisory Committee (PAC) that was formed initially to guide a three year AOA-funded Evidenced-Based Prevention Programs for the Elderly grant. While working with the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging, the PAC learned of proposed U.S. Senate Legislation, the Keeping Seniors Safe from Falls Act of 2005 (S 1531) to fund national education, research, and demonstrations related to falls prevention and took the initiative to share the legislation with a Maine state legislator who was a member of Southern Maine Agency on Aging's Advisory Council; he accepted the request to sponsor a similar fall prevention bill in Maine. Following lengthy negotiations with the Governor and state Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (primarily over the cost of proposed demonstrations), a stripped down Resolve was enacted creating the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition (which included all members of the Matter of Balance PAC as well as other key stakeholders). The Coalition was charged with developing a report for the next legislative session with recommendations and strategies for intervention approaches, demonstration projects, and suggested policy and legislative activities.

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition:
Three organizations in leadership roles within the Matter of Balance Project Advisory Committee (PAC) took the lead in the development of the broader fall prevention coalition. Members included Southern Maine Agency on Aging, MaineHealth's Partnership for Healthy Aging, and the Maine Office of Elder Services.

Goals and objectives of the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition:
In keeping with the requirements of the funding resolve, the coalition’s goal was to develop a report for the Maine Legislature recommending falls prevention interventions and demonstrations. Objectives included building greater public policy attention/support for the issue of falls among elders and procuring increased funding for falls prevention interventions.

Funding for the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition:
Following the expenditure of the initial resolve funding the coalition has been unable to obtain additional monies and operates primarily through in-kind efforts of the lead organizations.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition:
Maine’s Center for Disease Control has joined the effort to promote fall prevention, joining MaineHealth's Partnership for Healthy Aging, and the Maine Office of Elder Services in the coalition work.          

Structure and function of the steering committee:
The Coalition membership has now been combined into a larger committee providing oversight to Maine's US Administration on Aging "Choices for Independence" grant. The Committee meets quarterly.  This has diminished the success of the falls coalition work.

2-3 challenges encountered: 
A key challenge is gaining financial support from state executive branch officials and legislature; in the absence of dedicated funding another challenge is relying on donated staff time to coordinate coalition activities. Concurrently, maintaining ephemeral public policy focus on the importance of falls prevention in the face of competing health care and budget issues both for state and member organizations remains a significant challenge.

2-3 successes to share:

  • Maine legislation to create the Coalition was enacted and has been the subject of other states’ initiatives – Maine remains the only state with fall prevention legislation.
  • State Fall Prevention Plan was prepared and submitted to the Legislature in 2007
  • Maine Injury Prevention Program now includes falls prevention as one of initiatives under the Strategic Plan for  2007 – 2010

The Governor supported a  Proclamation of Fall Prevention Week 2008 and 2009

  • The MaineHealth Fall Prevention Toolkit for Patients and Families has been developed and disseminated.  The Maine CDC Core Injury Prevention Program funded the printing of 1000 copies which have been distributed to Master Trainer sites for A Matter of Balance throughout the state.
  • MaineHealth has identified reducing falls with injury as a system measure of success for the eleven county service area and will be developing a system level fall prevention coalition with workgroups from various care settings. 

Outcomes being monitored:

  • The dissemination Matter of Balance is being monitored as part of the "Choices for Independence" grant.  Outcomes continue to show significant improvement in core outcome measures.
  • Incorporation of fall prevention into strategic plan for Maine CDC Healthy Maine Partnership activities.
  • The number of endorsements in the distribution of the MaineHealth Fall Prevention Toolkit; dissemination is tracked.

The Coalition does not have a web site but additional information on Matter of Balance can be found at  For additional information on the exciting fall prevention activities in Maine, contact:

Peggy Haynes, MPA
Elder Care Services
Partnership for Healthy Aging
110 Free St.
Portland, ME 04101

Phone: (207) 661-7120


Maine Injury Prevention Strategic Plan:

View the Maine recipients of the Falls Free© “Falls Prevention Certificate of Appreciation.”


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