Key Takeaways

  • Falls prevention coalitions can bring together organizations and providers that need to collaborate to reduce falls, identify state or community needs, recommend policy changes, and build capacity.

  • Explore the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho, including their goals, objectives, and activities, and learn how they educate their community about older adult falls. 

The Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho (FPC-ID) is striving for a falls free Idaho by educating the public and health care professionals, increasing prevention via an information and referral system, and supporting those who experience falls. 

The history of the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho

The Idaho Commission on Aging (ICOA) first observed Falls prevention Awareness Day in 2020 by promoting falls prevention through a robust social media campaign as well as creating and hosting a 90-minute consumer seminar that was provided twice. The seminar featured expert panelists who discussed what falls are, the common outcomes of falls, and the impact that nutrition/hydration, medications, and physical activity have on falls risk. Each topic concluded with a “What You Can Do” checklist for participants. The seminar concluded with a discussion by the panelists about the impact of various chronic conditions on falls risk.

In 2021, three seminars were added. The first focused on the importance of physical activity and demonstrated both standing and seated exercises that could be done at home. The second identified common trip hazards in the home and how to remove them. Finally, a seminar specifically for healthcare professionals (and “future professionals” also known as healthcare students) about the prevalence of falls and how simple fall risk assessments followed by the appropriate referrals could be integrated into their everyday practice.

ICOA recognized that a “day” was not enough to address falls prevention. In 2020 ICOA promoted Falls Prevention Awareness Week and in 2021 expanded it to falls Prevention Awareness Month covering all of September. This was commemorated through a proclamation by the Idaho governor.

Through this work, ICOA recognized Idaho needed a more formalized statewide falls prevention strategy. At that time, Idaho had only unaffiliated organizations providing acute medical and preventative services related to falls. Most were concentrated in the southwest part of the state. There was no coordinated falls prevention network to provide preventative education and virtually no coordination as a person who has fallen transitioned through the continuum of care. This meant unnecessary falls continued to occur and outcomes were not as positive as they could have been.

The apparent need inspired Erin A. Olsen, ICOA health promotion program specialist, to begin conceptualizing a network. She developed the initial plan for the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho (FPC-ID) in 2021. In 2022, Kaitlyn Gaines, a DPT with Kootenai Health in north Idaho was introduced to Erin by the National Falls Prevention Resource Center. The FPC-ID status was changed to “In development” in the fall of 2022. Together, Kaitlyn and Erin brought the FPC-ID to life. The status was changed to “Active” in February 2023.

The first meeting of the steering committee was held in March 2023 with 27 committee members from 19 organizations representing all areas of the state. In addition to ICOA and Idaho’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), committee members included representatives from the Centers for independent Living, public health, universities and medical school, major health systems, disability organizations, advocacy non-profits, native tribes, home modification providers, and the Veteran’s Administration.

Coalition members volunteered their knowledge, skills, and interests into ten Key Performance Areas (KPAs). These form the “workgroups” of the FPC-ID. Through their efforts, the oversight by the steering committee and ICOA, the coalition addresses falls prevention in Idaho through foundational pillars of nutrition/hydration, physical health, emotional health, and environmental safety. A unified collaborative strategy utilizing awareness, education, and resources allows  the FPC-ID to reduce the incidence, outcomes, and impacts  of falls in Idaho.

Current goals and objectives for the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho

The Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho reduces falls and fall-related injuries, maximizing health, safety, and well-being through evidence-based prevention strategies and statewide collaborative efforts

Falls prevention in Idaho result from a three-pronged approach of awareness, education, and resources.

The four pillars of falls prevention in Idaho:

  1. Nutrition/hydration
  2. Physical health
  3. Emotional health
  4. Environmental safety

The Key Performance Areas (KPAs) identified in order for the coalition to reduce falls for Idahoans include:

  1. Outreach
  2. Consumer Education
  3. Professional Education
  4. Professional Practice
  5. Trip Hazard Remediation
  6. Events and Activities
  7. Research and Data
  8. Advocacy
  9. Financial
  10. Membership

Goals that address the pillars of falls prevention in the areas of coalition intervention using the identified approaches:

  1. The FPC-ID provides consistent, reliable information related to the incidence and outcomes of falls and how to identify and reduce falls risk for individuals, caregivers, families, organizations, communities, and civic leaders

    a. Outreach is provided via traditional and electronic methods including social media, websites, hard copy materials, and traditional media outlets

    b. Effective methods are identified and implemented to reach under-served populations including those living in rural areas, age 60+, living alone, for whom English is not their first language, who live in poverty and/or who are part of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social minority

    c. Materials are developed and provided using culturally appropriate language, references, and images

    d. Materials are developed and available in alternative formats to ensure accessibility by people with different abilities including low vision/blindness and deaf/hard of hearing

    e. Information is presented at least quarterly to consumers, professionals, and civic leaders
  2. Individuals and communities have increased awareness of the causes and implications of falls  and the knowledge and resources to reduce or eliminate them

    a. Communities actively promote strategies, activities, and information dissemination designed to improve nutrition, physical health, mobility, emotional health, and environmental safety to reduce falls

    b. Idahoans understand the relationship between proper nutrition and hydration and falls risk

    c. Idahoans have access to information and resources that allow them to improve or retain physical mobility

    d. Idahoans have access to evidence-based non-medical continence education to reduce falls risk while maintaining social engagement and physical activity

    e. Individuals, caregivers, and families understand the implications of medication on falls risk

    f. Individuals, caregivers, and providers are aware of the impact of fear of falling (FoF) and utilize education and resources to reduce FoF while improving or maintaining healthy social engagement and physical activity

    g. Availability of evidence-based falls prevention programs are increased and available through in-person, virtual, group, and one-to-one delivery
  3. Health care professionals/students and service providers increase awareness of the incidence and implication of falls and how to work with clients related to falls risk

    a. Health care professionals/students and service providers utilize evidence-based falls risk assessment with clients and refer them appropriately to community resources

    b. Pharmacists and health care providers are aware of the implications of medications and polypharmacy on falls risk and implement a standard of care that balances the benefits and harms of medication use
  4. Health care providers utilize tools and processes to integrate falls prevention consistently into their practice

    a. The FPC-ID provides a forum for healthcare professionals to discuss integration of falls prevention into the workflow of their practice

    b. The FPC-ID facilitates identifying and supporting a mechanism for referral of individuals at increased risk of falls to falls prevention intervention and educational opportunities
  5. Adults, families, and communities identify trip hazards in homes and public spaces   and have access to resources to make necessary modifications

    a. Communities, including public officials, planners, and maintenance implement accessible neighborhood and public space standards that reduce trip hazards and decrease the risk of falls while facilitating full participation, mobility, and independent functioning

    b. Public health and related services including housing authorities recognize and promote home safety measures including universal design and adaptive equipment that reduce home trip and slip hazards, increase mobility, and improve independent functioning

    c. Community-based resources for home trip hazard remediation and assistive devices are secured, including those providing financial assistance for lower income individuals
  6. The FPC-ID provides consumer, community, and professional activities and events throughout the year that heighten awareness and prevention of falls

    a. The FPC-ID provides consumer and professional seminars throughout the year on topics related to falls prevention

    b. The FPC-ID coordinates falls prevention Awareness Month statewide each September with support from FPC-ID partners and community-based resources

    c. The FPC-ID hosts a statewide 2-day falls prevention conference for consumers and professionals in late August/early September every two years
  7. The FPC-ID advocates for falls prevention to be integrated into policy and practice in state, county, and local communities to reduce the individual and societal physical, emotional, and financial cost of falls
  8. The FPC-ID collects relevant data points related to strategies, programs, services, and falls in Idaho, along with relevant ancillary data, and disseminates reports that emphasize incidence, costs, and effectiveness
  9. The FPC-ID ensures the sustainability of the coalition

    a. Adequate funding sources are secured to support the programs, resources, mechanisms, infrastructure, and activities of the FPC-ID

    b. Membership of the FPC-ID consists of a robust, active coalition of geographically, culturally, ethnically, religiously, socially, and professionally diverse individuals and organizations who share the vision of a falls-free Idaho

    c. The FPC-ID moves toward accomplishing its mission by assisting Idaho leaders, communities, and providers to deliver access to information, education, resources, and infrastructure  necessary to reduce falls for Idahoans

    d. The FPC-ID and its members adhere to stated values in all communications, interactions, and activities with individuals, organizations, communities, and leaders including appearance, language, and behaviors, communities, and leaders including appearance, language, and behaviors

Leadership for the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho

  • Erin Olsen, MEd, Co-founder
    Program Specialist, Idaho Commission on Aging
  • Kaitlyn Gaines, PT, DPT, Co-founder
    Kootenai Health

Key Partners for the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho

  • Idaho Commission on Aging
  • North Idaho Area Agency on Aging
  • Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging
  • Alzheimer’s Association of Idaho
  • Boise State University
  • Center for the Study of Aging (BSU)
  • Commission on Libraries
  • Division of Public Health - Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs
  • Habitat for Humanity – Boise Valley
  • Idaho Accessible Technology Project
  • Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
  • Idaho Elk’s Hearing and balance
  • Idaho State University
  • Institute of Rural Health – Traumatic Brain Injury Program
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Kootenai Health
  • Living Independence Network Corporation
  • Nimiipuu Health
  • Saint Alphonsus Health System
  • St. Luke’s Health System
  • Veteran’s Administration – Boise VA Medical center

What has the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho achieved? 

  1. Formed coalition with statewide representation across various categories including starting membership of 41 members
  2. Established 27-member steering committee to develop coalition policies, priorities, and structure and to provide ongoing oversight
  3. Developed 10 Key Performance Areas (KPAs) to conduct work of the coalition

What are the current challenges for Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho?

  1. The FPC-ID is currently un-funded
  2. Capacity to organize, plan, and implement activities is extremely limited
  3. As a primarily rural state with challenging access to many areas and extremely limited broadband, identifying effective mechanisms to reach and assist under-served populations remains difficult

What evidence-based falls prevention programs are currently offered by the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho?

What outcomes are monitored by the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho?

  • Data collection is currently being designed

More about the Falls Prevention Coalition of Idaho

Coalition website:

YouTube channel (steering committee meeting recordings and falls prevention videos):

Strategic Plan: Updated every three years by the FPC-ID Steering Committee

Bylaws: Not applicable. The FPC-ID currently operates as a program within the Disease Prevention and Health Promotion program of the Idaho Commission on Aging and follows all rules, regulations, and statutes set forth by the Idaho legislature and governor.