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Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative

History of the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:
In 1999, Age Advantage (an agency who worked with county aging units in Southern WI) contacted WI Dept. of Health and Family Services (DHFS) Injury Prevention Section Chief to talk about the magnitude of elderly falls in Wisconsin. After this meeting, additional stakeholders were identified and invited to meet to talk about this problem, to identify activities and resources already in place and to share any other pertinent information. Data was reviewed showing Wisconsin having the second highest rate of deaths from falls in the country at that time. It was at this time that in an effort to reverse the trend as reported in CDC data, the Wisconsin Falls Prevention Initiative (FPI) began. A large interdisciplinary statewide coalition has evolved to address falls, fall prevention and fear of falling in a more systematic manner.

Organizations that took the lead in developing the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:  
Wisconsin's Injury Prevention Section (now the Injury and Violence Prevention Program) located within Division of Public Health in the DHFS, the State's Division of Disability and Elder Services (now the Division of Long Term Care) also located within DHFS, and Age Advantage (comprised of County Aging Units in southern and western Wisconsin).

Initially other key stakeholders were identified and invited to the table to discuss the problem of falls in Wisconsin's aging population:

  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine (MDs)
  • UW Hospital and Clinics (PT staff)
  • Local Aging and Disability Resource Centers
  • Local Health Departments
  • Dane County Safe Community Coalition

Goals and objectives of the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:  
Mission Statement:  The Mission of the Wisconsin Falls Prevention Initiative is to reduce falls and fall-related complications and deaths among Wisconsin’s older adults through the integration of community based and medical prevention approaches.
Goals:

  • Increase education of medical community, frontline staff, care managers, caregivers, and consumers
  • Promote continued and successful collaborations between social and medical disciplines that deliver health services and support
  • Identify and promote evidence-based activities and programming statewide.

Outcomes being monitored:

  • Partnerships and collaborations
  • Counties engaged in falls related evidence-based activities
  • Numbers of fall deaths, hospitalizations, emergency dept. visits.

All funding sources for the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:
Coalition conference call lines are supported by the CDC Injury Surveillance and Prevention grant. Staff time is given in kind. Webhosting is provided through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Website.

Organizations that are playing a key role in the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:
The Wisconsin Falls Prevention Initiative has a diverse membership with new members joining every quarter. Some of the organizations represented on the membership include:
ADRCs, Aging Units, Local Public Health Departments, Hospitals/clinics/MCOs, Universities, local fall prevention coalitions, Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Senior Centers, Assisted Living facilities, Wellness Centers and Tribal service providers. 

Leadership structure and function of the Wisconsin Fall Prevention Initiative:
The Injury and Violence Prevention Coordinator within the Division of Public Health leads the quarterly conference calls of the FPI. The FPI functions to connect all those working in or interested in falls prevention. Together we share ideas, successes, challenges and best practices. The FPI is utilized to produce and disseminate statewide awareness efforts, tools and resources.

Coalition committees:
There are currently no committees within the FPI.

Regional/county/local coalitions or workgroups you support/provide technical assistance:
Local coalitions are invited to attend the FPI and have access to any resources provided through the coalition. To date, multiple local coalition members participate on the FPI.

2-3 challenges encountered:
The lack of dedicated resources limits the work of the initiative including limiting the movement beyond a resource and information-sharing group.

2-3 successes to share:

  • Heightened awareness regarding the magnitude of the problem across the state as well as within a broad set of organizational entities--this is evident through the ever growing listserve
  • Support and coordination of an annual Governor’s proclamation for Fall Prevention Awareness Month with related activities and materials.

For additional information about the exciting Wisconsin Falls Prevention Initiative, contact:
Becky Turpin
Rebecca (Becky) Turpin, MA
Adult Injury Prevention Coordinator
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
G5/332 | 600 Highland Avenue | Madison, WI 53792
Phone: 608.890.9927
RTurpin@uwhealth.org

Falls Prevention Among Older Adults: An Action Plan for Wisconsin:
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/InjuryPrevention/FallPrevention/pdffiles/Final%20Fall%20Prevention%20Plan%209-22-10.pdf

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