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Texas Falls Prevention Coalition (TFPC)

History of the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition (TFPC):
The Texas Falls Prevention Coalition was started with a grant to the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging (T4A) in the fall of 2007. With a $200,000 grant from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, 17 of the state’s 28 AAAs formed the new coalition, offering the A Matter of Balance/Volunteer Lay Leader Model. Since October 2007, TFPC has certified 77 master trainers, more than any state. These master trainers have trained more than 55 coaches. Collectively, these trainers and coaches have conducted 96 courses, reaching more than 1,100 older participants across Texas in the first year.

The TFPC contract with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services was extended in September 2008 with an additional $200,000, and the coalition grew to 25 of 28 Texas AAAs, or 236 of 254 counties in Texas. In the second year, the TFPC trained 1723 seniors through August 2009. A TFPC half-time Falls Coalition Coordinator was hired to bring other stakeholders into the falls coalition. In September 2008, Humana, a Medicare insurance plan, became the statewide sponsor the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition, providing for an additional $100,000. Humana partners with the TFPC to recruit coaches and participants through their programs, to publicize classes, and to assist in providing health care professionals required for the MOB/VLL program.

The TFPC is currently in a third year with funding from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition:
The Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging in partnership with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services created the vision for the Coalition development.

Goals and objectives of the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition:
Organizing goals and objectives have been identified to support the Coalition and currently include: 

  • Implementing a statewide Matter of Balance/Volunteer Led Leader Program
  • Building coalition infrastructure and establish TFPC mission, goals and activities
  • Supporting policy development and changes that promote evidence-based falls prevention.

The coalition approved a mission statement that is broad enough to encompass the work of all the partners.

The Texas Falls Prevention Coalition promotes, implements and evaluates evidence-based programs and policies that help reduce risk factors of falls and injuries in older adults; and provides education and resources to increase public awareness, mobilize communities and effect policy change for a falls-free Texas.

The coalition identified and adopted the goals from the National Action Plan and a number of key strategies for each area.  The coalition identified existing local and state efforts under those goals and strategies, identified gaps and then created SMART objectives.

Objectives
By August 2010, develop partnerships with agencies conducting home safety assessments to help provide additional education and fall prevention resources.

By May 2010, engage 30% of RSVP organizations in Matter of Balance to mobilize members to address environmental safety issues for Seniors.

By January 2010, five Area Agencies on Aging will implement a medication management program that utilizes Medication Management Information System (MMIS) software, existing care coordination programs, and partner pharmacists, for 150 older adults in their regions, for the purpose of presenting the results to Texas AAA and TFPC for possible replication. 

By August 2009, the TFPC will produce and disseminate a document describing the importance of fall prevention, introducing the Coalition and providing additional resources. This document will be used during Falls Prevention Week – Sept 21-28. (Cross-cutting issues)-

TFPC developed a toolkit for Area Agencies Aging, community partners and coalition members to conduct activities to promote Fall Prevention Awareness Week. The toolkit included possible activities, media releases, flyers, pamphlets and websites links to help in planning promotional events.

By October 2009, implement a process for sharing information and coordinating efforts among Matter of Balance providers and coordinators, in an effort to create a knowledge base of best practices for physical mobility.

This objective has not been completed. The development of a process to share best practices among AMOB providers, coordinators, and members of the coalition is still in progress.

Funding sources for the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition: 
Initial funding came from a State grant (state general revenue) with additional funding sources to include private funding from Medicare HMO and the use of  Older Americans Act Title IIID Health Promotion Funds to support programmatic efforts.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition: 
In addition to the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Humana is now a key sponsor and partner in this effort. 

Structure and function of the steering committee:
The three lead agencies meet several times per month via conference call

2-3 challenges encountered:

  • Loss of master trainers in some regions
  • Lack of dedicated coalition staff person
  • Sheer size of the state that includes many rural areas which creates difficulty in taking programs to many areas, to identify enough seniors to be coaches and participants living in an accessible region.

2-3 successes to share:
Obtaining private sponsorship in collaboration with Humana for a second year.
During the 81st Texas Legislative session, the governor of Texas passed and signed into law House Bill 703 relating to fall prevention awareness. The law declares the first week of fall as “Fall Prevention Awareness Week” as well as providing six recommendations.

Outcomes being monitored:
Texas Diabetes Institute/University Center for Community Health - University Health Systems is the new evaluator for the FY 2010 grant.

  • Participant demographics
  • Number of participants enrolled and completing the program
  • Health status before, after, and 6 months after class
  • Number of individuals trained as Master Trainer and Lay Leader Coaches

The Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public completed its agreement in evaluating outcomes for the grant.

Outcomes to report: There was significant improvement in

  •  General health status-an improved indicator of perceived quality of life. Participants reporting the average number of days of poor physical health was decreased.
  •  Interference with normal activities- participants reporting that their ability to participate in their normal social activities was not affected by their health significantly increased.
  •  Days kept from usual activities- the proportion of participants reporting that their ability to accomplish routine errands and shopping was not impacted by their health significantly increased.
  •  Days being physically active- participants reported engaging in regular physical activity increased
  •  Likelihood of meeting recommended physical activity levels
  •  Physically healthy days
  •  Self-reported falls- participants reporting falls to family members and doctors increased.
  • Participants showed significant increases in their confidence that they could successfully find a way to reduce their risk of falling, can protect themselves if they were to fall, can increase their physical strength, and can become more steady on their feet.

For additional information on how to join this exciting effort in Texas, contact:

Christina Bartha, M.S.
United Way of Tarrant County
Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County
1500 N. Main Street, Suite 200
Fort Worth, Texas  76164
817-258-8120
christina.bartha@unitedwaytarrant.org

Website: www.texasfpc.org

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Sept. 23 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day!

Help spread the word about how older adults can prevent falls.

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