Fall prevention is an increasingly important area in the realm of public health and prevention medicine. Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults in the United States, causing over 2.8 million injuries, over 800,000 hospitalizations, and more than 27,000 deaths annually (NCOA, 2018).As the average age of the population increases, the need for programs that inform the public about their risks of falls has begun to increase. The following study is an evaluation of one such program, Healthy Steps for Older Adults (HSOA). Twenty individuals ages 58 and older were recruited to partake in a two-day informational and interactive session designed to teach those participants about falls, to help them evaluate their own risk of falls, and to provide solutions to reduce fall risk. Questionnaires given a at the start of the intervention on day one, at the conclusion of the intervention on day two, and four weeks after completing the program were used to assess changes in knowledge about falls and fall risk and behavior changes to reduce risks of falling. Participants also completed a “Physical Skill screening” on the second day that included three exercises to identify their relative fall risk. Out of the twenty participants, fourteen responded to the follow-up phone interview. Of those fourteen individuals, 85.71% changed at least one behavior to help reduce their risk of falls by the time they were contacted to complete the four-week post-intervention follow-up questionnaire, and the program is therefore an effective falls-prevention program based on our definition (at least 50% of participants changed at least one behavior to reduce their risk of falls). Additional analysis supports the claim that there may be a lower limit age for which the program is effective, and that being placed in a moderate or high risk fall category may be associated with increased likelihood of making a positive behavior change to reduce fall risk. However, more data is needed to establish statistical significance. Areas of concern reflect a suggested need to incorporate family members into the intervention, establish a standardized benchmark for determining program effectiveness, and improve comparability between pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Overall, the program by our definition was successful, but specific limitations regarding the logistical implementation and evaluation of the program should be addressed if the program were to be run again.
Recommended CitationDiPasquale, MPHc, Luke; McAna, PhD, John; and Willis, MS, RN, CCRN, CNS-BC, MDiv, Reda, "Healthy Steps for Older Adults (HSOA) - A Falls Prevention Program Outcome Evaluation" (2018). Master of Public Health Thesis and Capstone Presentations. Presentation 268.