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Show Me Falls Free Missouri

History of Show Me Falls Free Missouri:
The Missouri AARP and State Department of Health and Senior Services jointly called a broad-based group of state-level stakeholders together beginning in late 2007 to embark upon a multi-month strategic planning process designed to decrease falls, fall-related injuries and associated costs among community dwelling seniors in Missouri.

This collaborative work resulted in a state plan entitled “Show Me Falls Free Missouri” that is currently being discussed and presented in various venues around the state. There is a clear recognition within this effort of the need to complement and align with existing falls prevention work in Missouri-based facilities such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and others.  The state plan’s emphasis upon primary prevention in the community was identified as a gap within our state.

The strategic planning group made a decision to consider their group as a state coalition and to seek alignment with the National Falls Free® Coalition and the State Coalitions on Fall Prevention Workgroup. As the state plan is discussed across the state, the planning group anticipates and welcomes additional individuals and organizations to join the state coalition work.

Organizations that took the lead in developing Show Me Falls Free Missouri:  
The initial impetus was provided by the Missouri AARP and state Department of Health and Senior Services. Over 30 organizations participate in the coalition’s activities.

Goals and objectives of Show Me Falls Free Missouri:  
Vision:   Missouri older adults will have fewer falls and fall-related injuries, maximizing their independence and quality of life, while decreasing healthcare costs and deaths.

Goal 1:  Missouri older adults will have knowledge of the benefit, and access to fall risk assessment as appropriate to their individual needs.
Goal 2:  Missouri older adults living in the community will have knowledge of, and access to, effective programs and services that preserve or improve their physical mobility and lower the risk of falls.
Goal 3:  Missouri older adults, their caregiver(s) and healthcare provider(s) will be aware that falling is a common adverse effect of some prescription and nonprescription medications and have the tools/information to ameliorate the risk.
Goal 4:  Missouri older adults have access to home and community environments that lower the risk of falls, and facilitate full participation, mobility and independent functioning.
Goal 5:  Missouri older adults will have knowledge of the benefit and access to the management of chronic and acute health conditions that place them at increased risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
Goal 6:  Missouri older adults will have knowledge of the benefit, and access to visual examination and corrective services to reduce the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
Goal 7:  Missouri older adults benefit from intentional state and community infrastructure development to lower risk of falls and fall-related injuries.

Outcomes being monitored:
Desired outcomes are to decrease emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths due to falls among seniors ages 65 and older. In addition, the coalition is collecting data on process measures tracking presentations, events, health fairs, educational programs, screenings, lives touched, etc.

All funding sources for Show Me Falls Free Missouri:
All activities taking place under the state plan and within the coalition are offered in-kind by member organizations or through activities associated with grants received by member organizations.  The coalition is currently exploring opportunities to fund its work directly.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Show Me Falls Free Missouri:
The Show Me Falls Free Missouri State Coalition is a voluntary coalition of diverse entities interested in decreasing falls and fall-related injuries among Missouri’s older adults while maximizing their independence and quality of life and decreasing healthcare costs and deaths. Organizations playing key roles in achieving this mission are:

Boone Hospital Rehabilitation Services
Clay County Public Health Center
Heartland Health Regional Hospital
Emergency Management Stand-By Services
Missouri Alliance for Home Care
Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging
Missouri Center for Patient Safety
Missouri Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Senior and Disability Services
Division of Injury Prevention
Office of Public Information
Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology

Missouri Hospital Association
Missouri League for Nursing
Missouri Occupational Therapy Association
Missouri Optometric Association
Missouri Pharmacy Association
Missouri State University Department of Physical Therapy
Northwest Missouri Area Agency on Aging
Pershing Memorial Hospital
Regional Area Agencies on Aging
St. Louis AAA
Mid-East AAA
Northeast AAA
Central Missouri AAA
Southwest Missouri Office on Aging
Care Connection for Aging Services
Ripley County Caring Community Partnership
St. Louis Regional OASIS
Saint Louis University School of Nursing
Saint Louis University Hospital
Serve Link Home Care
University of Missouri-Kansas City Center on Aging Studies
University of Missouri Health Care
University of Missouri-Columbia
School of Health Professions
Sinclair School of Nursing
Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program

Leadership structure and function of Show Me Falls Free Missouri:
Currently, the coalition is led by a team of representatives from the state Department of Health and Senior Services, St. Louis Regional OASIS, Missouri Pharmacy Association, Missouri Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, and the Missouri Association of the Area Agencies on Aging. In addition to serving on the Executive Leadership Team, each member also participates on a coalition committee.

Membership to the coalition is open to any interested organization. Members are asked to participate on one committee. In 2010, Show Me Falls Free Missouri will adopt a formalized governance and membership structure.

Coalition committees:
Executive Leadership Team
Best Practices
Public Awareness
Healthcare Provider Education
Data and Evaluation

Regional/county/local coalitions or workgroups you support/provide technical assistance:
The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (MDHSS) Senior Falls Prevention Pilot Project involves four communities utilizing the Community Mobilization for Prevention Online Guide (CMP) and the Missouri Community Health Improvement Resource (CHIR) website to reduce senior falls in their communities.  Show Me Falls Free Missouri has worked closely with the local pilot coalitions during development and planning stages to provide needed resources and assistance.

The four pilot sites are representative of communities in Missouri -- Clay County, an urban/suburban community, and three rural counties: Grundy County, Linn County, and Ripley County.  Three of these counties were in the top quintile for senior fall injuries and one was in the 2nd quintile. 

The Clay County contractor is the Clay County Health Department.  Their senior falls prevention coalition has implemented a train-the-trainer model utilizing “A Matter of Balance.”  Staff members from partner agencies and organizations were trained to deliver the program to their constituencies. 

The Grundy County contractor is Pershing Memorial Hospital. Their senior falls prevention coalition is partnering with the local community college to present “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy.” 

The Linn County contractor is Servelink, a home health agency. Their senior falls prevention coalition is taking “PACE” to the Senior Centers and Senior Housing.  In addition they will present quarterly events at the senior centers.

Ripley County contractor is Ripley County Caring Communities, a non-profit service organization.  Their senior falls prevention coalition is starting their community education effort with a human interest story in the local paper.  They also provide senior fall prevention information at senior centers.

2-3 challenges encountered:
Currently, Show Me Falls Free Missouri is closely associated with the state Department of Health and Senior Services. In an ongoing effort to streamline the state budget, the duties of the state liaisons have evolved, changing roles within the coalition.

The coalition currently has no avenue to collect or expend funds received through donations or grants. This has limited the coalition’s chance to pursue opportunities to fund its work.

2-3 successes to share:
The state has continued to support the coalition. The Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services as well as the Lieutenant Governor frequently mention the coalition during speaking engagements and interviews. 

The coalition continues to foster relationships with other groups doing work relevant to fall prevention. This includes those working in injury prevention and physical activity, among others.

A great effort was made in 2009 to coordinate events and programs across the state around Fall Prevention Awareness Day. In total, over 54 events were held statewide including education seminars, screenings and professional presentations.

For additional information visit the Show Me Falls Free Missouri coalition webpage on the Department of Health and Senior Services website at http://www.dhss.mo.gov/showmefallsfreemissouri/.

To learn more about Show Me Falls Free Missouri and join this exciting work, email SMFFM@dhss.mo.gov or contact:

Sarah Lovegreen
Health Manager, St. Louis Regional
The OASIS Institute
7710 Carondelet Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63105
(314).862.4859 x 25
Helen W. Lach, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC
Associate Professor
Saint Louis University School of Nursing
3525 Caroline Mall
St. Louis, MO 63104
Phone: 314-977-8939

Website: http://www.dhss.mo.gov/seniors/showmefallsfreemissouri/index.php

View the Missouri recipients of the Falls Free® “Falls Prevention Certificate of Appreciation.”


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