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Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative

History of the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative:
In October 2005, the Minnesota Board on Aging received a three-year planning grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging to develop and implement a statewide coordinated evidence-based falls prevention initiative. The State Partners Group includes statewide associations/networks of health care and social service organizations and professionals that have a significant role in falls prevention.  Minnesota has focused its efforts on: 1) consumer awareness/education, 2) professional training, and 3) local coalition development.  A key element of the effort is the fall prevention website: www.mnfallsprevention.org

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative:
Three state level organizations came together in partnership to address this issue, including the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the
Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Goals and objectives of the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative:
The vision for Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative is: Older Minnesotans will have fewer falls and fall- related injuries, maximizing their independence and quality of life (adapted from the Falls Free: National Action Plan). Several supporting objectives include: increase awareness of prevalence and risk factors for falls (multifactor approach); increase assessment of fall risk; increase availability of evidence-based interventions statewide; increase access to these interventions; and enhance quality assurance efforts related to falls prevention.

Outcomes being monitored:
The Initiative is measuring the reach of consumer and professional outreach activities, unique visits to the website, and the development of a growing number of local coalitions as well as their operating status.

All funding sources for the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative:
The initial funding source was the U.S. Administration on Aging grant with additional funds accessed through the Older Americans’ Act Title IIID health promotion funds. The
Department of Human Services, Community Services Development grant funds helped to provide support for the initial fall prevention pilots, website development and local coalition development. The University of MN-Extension and MN Department of Health secured a Rural Health Services Education grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2008 to support the development of a local falls coalition connecting acute care, rehab, community services and preventive services.  In addition, several statewide associations have identified falls prevention as a priority and are supporting local member efforts to reduce fall risk.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Minnesota Falls Prevention
In addition to the original three state government members, other state and local organizations are actively participating in the initiative including, at the State level: Stratis Health (Medicare QIO), MN Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, MN Occupational Therapy Association, MN Hospital Association, MN Home Care Association, Aging Services Minnesota, MN Council of Health Plans, University of Minnesota, and the Mayo Clinic. Regional and local level organizations include: Area Agencies on Aging, local public health offices, local members of associations listed above.

Leadership structure and function of the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative:
MN Board on Aging staff support state and local partners’ efforts to address falls through regular information sharing, technical assistance and connecting organizations to work together.  The coalition does not meet as a whole on a regular basis, but as needed to address specific issues or respond to grant opportunities.

Coalition committees:  None at this time

Regional/county/local coalitions or workgroups you support/provide technical assistance: 
There are many local coalitions throughout the state that are supported through the development work of the regional Area Agencies on Aging and the MN Board on Aging and MN Department of Health. 

2-3 challenges encountered:
Putting the systems change strategies into operation is key challenge. The Initiative is seeking to utilize existing training and funding venues to shift providers towards evidence-based fall prevention activities. A new challenge is connecting in a meaningful way with the health plans, which recently became the major provider of health and long-term care for Minnesota Medicaid and Medicare dual eligible populations. Obviously, they have a significant role to play in supporting prevention of falls among beneficiaries in the community.

2-3 successes to share:

  • Increased awareness among older adults, family caregivers and professionals of prevalence and risk factors for falls through development and promotion of MN Falls Prevention website www.mnfallsprevention.org.
  • Development and management of a growing listserv (250+ members) and creation, translation and dissemination of consumer handouts.
  • Activated eight community-based organizations to address falls in their local communities of interest through coalitions.
  • Activated statewide networks and organizations around the state to address falls prevention.  The Initiative is now receiving regular requests for speakers and technical assistance from a variety of organizations/associations, recently expanding the audience to include the MN Home Care Association and the Primary Care Conference in Duluth.

To learn more about the Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative and to join this exciting work in Minnesota, contact:

Mary Hertel
Healthy Aging Program Consultant
Minnesota Board on Aging
540 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55164
Phone: 651-431-3104

Pam Van Zyl York
Div of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease
85 East Seventh Place, Suite 220
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 201-3616

Website: www.mnfallsprevention.org

Additional information about older adult falls in Minnesota is available on the Aging Services of Minnesota website at http://www.agingservicesmn.org/index/Falls_Prevention


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