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Falls Free Vermont

History of the Vermont Fall Prevention Coalition:
Falls prevention has been a priority in our state for many years. Through partnerships with the Dept of Health (VDH), the Dept of Aging, Disabilities and Independent Living (DAIL), Agencies on Aging,  health care providers and community-based service providers across the state, we have been promoting, supporting or providing falls prevention evaluations, home safety visits, education and prevention fitness programs targeted at reducing falls in our senior population.   This includes evidence-based programs and activities such as A Matter of Balance, Growing Stronger, Bone Builders, CDSMP and Tai Chi programs.  These programs aim to improve balance, flexibility, strength and educate to reduce the likely hood of falls. 

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Coalition:  
CVAA (Agency on Aging), DAIL and FAHC (Community Health Improvement) took the lead to reach out to NCOA and be recognized.  CVAA and FAHC teamed to provide Falls Prevention Awareness programs these last two years.  Recently all five of Vermont’s Agencies on Aging have stated their commitment to participate in the Coalition. 

Goals and objectives of the Coalition:  
One goal is to continue the development of an infrastructure for delivery of evidence-based programs and activities in community-based settings. Another goal is to build on existing community partnerships, connecting and educating local practitioners and other health care providers about falls prevention programs and other healthy aging activities going on in their geographical areas. Thirdly, to encourage referrals to preventive programs from health care providers; family health practices; emergency room practitioners; physical therapists;  osteoporosis and rheumatology clinic staff. 

Our objectives include, educating seniors and senior service providers about the benefits of being proactive around falls prevention; increase patient referrals and participation in falls prevention initiatives; increase accessibility, availability and variety of free or low-cost programs in communities across the state. 

Outcomes being monitored:
Increase in programs offered; increase in participation of programs; increase in health care provider referrals; decrease in ER visits due to falls; decrease in visits to local providers due to falls.

All funding sources for the Coalition:
We currently do not have a direct funding source.  Indirectly, Federal, State and local funds covers cost of coalition members, through their employers or as volunteers.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Coalition:
Vermont’s Agencies on Aging, DAIL and FAHC.

Leadership structure and function of the Coalition:
Our leadership structure is not yet formalized, however we are considering adapting an existing structure of partnerships initiated through the Vermont Blueprint for Health to spread CDSMP across the state.  It would be simpler to use this model and existing infrastructure to build the Falls Free Coalition in Vermont.

Coalition committees:
Each subcommittee is defined by the geographical service area of the AAA. Their function is to maintain connectivity; provide information and marketing assistance around falls prevention initiatives; use partners to support, develop and provide local programming; explore and facilitate new community partnerships; identify and target potential local funding sources.

The Falls Free Vermont Coalition committee will provide the means for sharing state wide initiatives with regional subcommittees; identify and report best practices; develop and promote a dedicated web page about Coalition activities, events and programs; expand outreach and education to medical professionals; and target potential funding sources to support new initiatives and/or volunteer trainings for direct service providers.

Regional/county/local coalitions or workgroups you support/provide technical assistance:
Vermont Blueprint for Health, senior centers, senior housings, adult days, senior community meal programs, community-based service providers and hospital wellness and health promotion outreach departments.

2-3 challenges encountered:
• The vast rural nature of Vermont is always a challenge in providing accessible programs; 
• Transportation is another challenge in linking our rural communities.  Much of our target population has little or no regular transportation options.
• Lack of funding.

2-3 successes to share:
• Successful development of strong regional partnerships for delivery of evidence-based programs such as CDSMP.
• Development of a strong volunteer base to provide direct service healthy aging programs for older adults.

For additional information on Falls Free Vermont and an opportunity to join this exciting work visit and contact: 

Mary West     
Assistant Nutrition Director & Director of Health Promotion
76 Pearl St, Suite 201
Essex Junction VT 05452
Phone: 802 865-0360 ext 1017
Fax: 802 865-0363

Mary Woodruff, MPH, RD
Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) Operations Team
Phone: 802.871-3216
Fax:  802.871.3281
Mailing address:
103 South Main St.
Waterbury, VT 05671-1601
Dawn Weening, RN CCM
Coordinator of Adult Outreach and Education
Fletcher Allen Health Care
128 Lakeside Ave, Suite 106
Burlington, VT 05401
phone: 847-1624   fax: 847-6545
Maggie Holt
Contact info to follow


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