How to Talk to Seniors about Falls
Some older adults may not want to admit to having experienced a fall for fear of losing independence or being removed from the home. Even the fear of falling can be, in itself, debilitating. It is important to help seniors understand that falls are not a normal part of aging and they can take steps to prevent falls by improving balance, increasing leg strength, improving flexibility and identifying hazards in the home.
STEADI - Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries tool kit: CDC’s Injury Center created this tool kit for health care providers who see older adults at risk of falling or who may have fallen in the past.
Healthcare Professional Guidelines
American Geriatric Society - Clinical Practice Guideline: Prevention of Falls in Older Persons (website)
American Geriatric Society Beers Criteria: The criteria have been developed to improve care for all ambulatory and institutionalized adults 65 years and older by reducing exposure to medications that are potentially inappropriate medications for older adults. (PDF)
American Hospital Association Hospital Engagement Network – Injuries from Falls and Immobility (website)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - Preventing Falls in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care (website)
Nursing Home Tools
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - The Falls Management Program: A Quality Improvement Initiative for Nursing Facilities (PDF)
The STEADI toolkit is a great resource for anyone who works with older adults and is concerned about falls. The toolkit can be used to set up a screening or event to increase public awareness on fall prevention. Although the toolkit is advertised for providers, there are pieces that can be used by anyone who works with seniors, such as activity and wellness directors, civic and tribal organizations, churches and other faith-based organizations, injury prevention coordinators, senior community administrators, therapists (PT / PTA, OT / COTA) and other community health workers.
STEADI Tool Kit for General Community Outreach
Fall Risk Checklist (PDF brochure) - To be filled out and kept by the participant, who can then share the information with their health care provider.
Screening Tools (website) - Instructional documents and videos are available for each STEADI screening tool.
How to Use the STEADI Tool Kit and Screening Tools for Data Collection
Obtaining funding can be a challenge for prevention and wellness programs. Data collection is an invaluable tool used to demonstrate efficacy of a program. The following is a recommendation on how to use the STEADI toolkit for data collection:
1. Prior to beginning a program, gather participants who will commit to the length of the program.
2. Perform a pre-program balance test (i.e., STEADI Toolkit). Record the results.
3. Keep a log (or sign in sheet) to document frequency of participation.
4. Perform a post-program balance test using the same balance tests used in the pre-program test. Record the results.
5. Not only can participants see and compare the results, the outcome data can be used to justify program support.
Sample Documents for Data Collection: Demographic and Data Collection (PDF) - This sample shows a simple spreadsheet with demographic data as well as the areas to record the results of the screening.
Summary Report (PDF) - This sample shows a summary of how the data can be utilized in a report.