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Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership

History of the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:
While numerous efforts were underway at state and national levels in Michigan to promote healthy aging through fall prevention, there was no partnership in Michigan to support the state wide diffusion of proven practices prior to 2005. Three cornerstones formed the foundation for such a partnership in Michigan:

  1. Statewide Fall Prevention Workgroup
  2. The appointment of a Statewide Fall Prevention Workgroup brought together experts from public health, the aging services network, health care, and academia around the issues of fall prevention and aging. These key people and systems were interested in making existing fall prevention interventions more widely known, readily available, and easily used.

  3. Hospital-Based Fall Prevention Clinic Demonstration
  4. In October 2002, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) received a three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop, implement, and evaluate two hospital-based fall prevention clinics. These clinics utilized several of the proven interventions for fall prevention. Results of the evaluation showed that participants in the fall-prevention clinics had 33 percent fewer falls than those in the control group. The grant also supported the development of a step-by-step manual for implementing hospital-based fall prevention clinics based on experience with the model. In addition, health care provider training courses were developed to build the knowledge and skills of providers around fall prevention, risk assessment, and evidence-based interventions.

  5. National Action Plan
  6. The availability of the National Action Plan which outlines four primary risk areas for falls among seniors: physical mobility, medications management, home safety, and environmental safety in the community helped to provide structure to the state wide effort. The plan identified a comprehensive list of strategies that states can adopt to prevent falls among older adults within each of these risk areas by bringing existing, evidence- based interventions to the forefront.

    From April 2005 through June 2006, the Injury and Violence Prevention Program at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) contracted with Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a health policy research firm in Lansing, MI, to engage high level stakeholders to promote integration of comprehensive and effective fall prevention strategies in clinical and community settings throughout Michigan. PSC worked with MDCH staff and some members of the Michigan Fall Prevention Workgroup to identify key stakeholders and arrange meetings with Central Michigan University's College for Health Professions, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, and the Michigan State Medical Society. Each of these organizations agreed to become a founding member of Michigan's Fall Prevention Partnership (MFPP). It was anticipated that this new partnership would elevate the efforts of the Fall Prevention Workgroup to a new level of visibility and activity in the state, bringing fall prevention efforts into the mainstream of patient safety improvement endeavors and the design of communities to maximize health and independence for older adults.

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:  
As noted above, the Michigan Department of Community Health, Injury & Violence Prevention Program in collaboration with Public Sector Consultants (Consulting Firm) led the initial organizing effort.

Goals and objectives of the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:  
A number of objectives were established for the statewide partnership:

  • Educate health professionals about fall prevention, focusing on fall risk assessment and risk reduction through evidence-based interventions, and tailor education to specific groups, e.g., physicians, physical therapists, nurses, pharmacists, etc.
  • Raise awareness and disseminate information about fall prevention to older adults and their caregivers, including home safety practices, medication review, and mobility. Develop a social marketing campaign to increase the demand for senior-friendly communities.
  • Increase the availability of appropriate physical therapy and exercise programs and services for older adults.
  • Maximize the opportunity to address medication review and management by nurses and pharmacists as part of the prescription benefit component of the Medicare Modernization Act, effective January 2006.
  • Develop a database of best practices in fall prevention, beginning with home modifications and effective home safety measures for reducing fall risks at home.

Outcomes being monitored:
At the state level, the Injury and Violence Prevention Section of the Michigan Department of Community Health is continuing to monitor fall injuries and deaths in Michigan.

All funding sources for the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:
The initial organizing funds came from a CDC fall prevention grant (for MDCH Project Coordinator and consulting firm) which was combined with a small amount of state funding for furthering the work of the consulting firm.  Currently, no funds are available for fall prevention.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:
In the past, the focus of the partnership was primarily under health care with three organizations promoting the partnership goals and objectives, including the Michigan State Medical Society; the Michigan Pharmacists Association; and the Central Michigan University's College of Health Professions.  Currently, there is no coordinated effort by organizations to address this issue.

Leadership structure and function of the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership:
The Partnership is currently inactive.  In the past, a Steering Committee met quarterly from the fall 2005 to 2006, whereupon it was unable to procure sustainable financing. Efforts are ongoing but not in a statewide facilitated manner; the Steering Committee has not formally convened since June 2006 due to the funding and infrastructure limitations.

Coalition committees:
None at this time.

Regional/county/local coalitions or workgroups you support/provide technical assistance:
None at this time.

2-3 challenges encountered:
When the CDC fall prevention grant ended in June 2006, the state was unable to continue its full time coordinator position, which brought most of the state fall prevention activities to closure. That has remained the key challenge with outreach made to several foundations and organizations - partnership members just do not have resources to dedicate to fall prevention.

2-3 successes to share:
A key success was the identification of fall prevention priorities and the subsequent development of a Call to Action document. The widespread interest and promotion of fall prevention by individual Partnership members was viewed as another indication of the growing momentum; such activities included numerous presentations at organizations, conferences, attendance at trainings, professional education, grant writing, and implementation of fall prevention interventions.

In September 2009, the Governor issued a proclamation for Fall Prevention Day and the Michigan Department of Community Health issued a press release.

A Fall Prevention Coordinator position has been vacant within the MDCH Injury & Violence Prevention Section for over a year.  It is anticipated that this position will be filled in 2010, pending no further state budget cuts.

Information about older adult falls in Michigan is available on the Department of Community Health website.

For additional information about the Michigan Fall Prevention Partnership and how you can be involved in this exciting work, please contact:

Laura Rowen, Unintentional Injury Prevention Consultant
Michigan Safe Kids Coordinator
MDCH, Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Control
Injury and Violence Prevention Section
109 Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48913
Phone:  (517) 335-9519
Fax:  (517) 335-9669
e-mail:  RowenL@michigan.gov



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