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National Falls Prevention Awareness Day – September 23

On September 23, 2014, Ohio will observe National Falls Prevention Awareness Day (NFPAD) along with September as Falls Prevention Awareness Month.   As an important component of the STEADY U Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Older Adult Falls Prevention Coalition invite you to partner with us to promote falls risk assessment screenings in health care settings.   NFPAD, with the theme “Strong Today, Falls Free® Tomorrow” presents a wonderful opportunity to educate health care providers on how they can reduce their patients’ risk of falling.    As a health care leader, you can play a critical role in educating your members on the prevention of falls.  By promoting the integration of fall screenings, you can help health care providers around the state identify patients at-risk for a fall. 

As you may be aware, falls are particularly harmful to older adults. Falls and fall-related injury seriously affect older adults’ quality of life and present a substantial burden to Ohio’s health care system. They are often the difference between independence and institutionalization for an older adult.  The following data provide clear justification of the need for fall prevention efforts:

 Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths for Ohioans age 65 and older.

To assist you in these education efforts, the Ohio Departments of Health and Aging are pleased to provide your membership the opportunity to request a copy of CDC’s STEADI Tool Kit.  STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) is a provider resource including basic information about falls, case studies, conversation starters, and standardized gait and balance assessment tests.  In addition, there are educational handouts about fall prevention specifically designed for patients and their friends and family.  More information about STEADI can be found here: http://www.healthyohioprogram.org/vipp/falls/STEADI.aspx

To assist your members in learning more about NFPAD and obtaining a copy of the STEADI Tool Kit, ODH has developed a promotional tool kit including an introductory email/letter, Facebook posts, website content, a customizable press release and newsletter article. 

This year, NFPAD also marks the one year anniversary of the launch of the STEADY U Ohio initiative.  STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by the Ohio Department of Aging and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. ODH is distributing the STEADI Tool Kit as part of the overall STEADY U Ohio initiative.  Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more information.

We hope that you find these materials helpful and encourage you to distribute this information to your membership. By working together, we can reduce falls and ensure that older Ohioans are leading happy, healthy and productive lives.   If you have any questions regarding STEADI or older adult falls prevention, please do not hesitate to contact ODH’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program at (614) 466-2144. 

Sincerely,

Richard Hodges, MPA
Director, Ohio Department of Health

Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D.
Director, Ohio Department of Aging

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