Fall Prevention Initiatives

Falls Across the Lifespan: a priority for ONF

Falls are the leading cause of injury in Ontario and result in the greatest number of emergency room visits.

Anyone is at risk, but the chance of a serious fall injury is nine times greater for people over age 65. For those over 75, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. The next most vulnerable age group is children under age five. (Ontario Injury Data Report, Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre, 2012).

ONF is the leader in fall prevention knowledge exchange and works collaboratively with a broad range of partners to reduce falls and related neurotrauma injuries. Falls are the leading cause of injury in Ontario and result in the greatest number of emergency room visits.

ONF funded projects

Some of the projects ONF has funded in this area include:

Fall Prevention Community of Practice (CoP)

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Fall Prevention CoP was founded in 2010 by ONF and the Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN) in partnership with Core Team members from the health care sector.

ONF now sponsors the CoP which provides knowledge exchange, capacity-building and networking opportunities in fall prevention in older adults. The CoP uses Loop (www.fallsloop.com), an online communications platform, to facilitate knowledge exchange with an active network of members across Ontario and other Canadian provinces.

The network includes those who work with older adults and their caregivers, researchers, practitioners and policy planners in hospitals, public health agencies, long-term care facilities and environmental design organizations. The goal is to share information and implementation strategies for everything from exercise and balance training, fall assessment tools to designing safer public spaces and healthy aging initiatives.


Loop

Loop is an online platform that brings together practitioners, caregivers, researchers, older adult groups and policy planners working for the health and care of older adults. Loop helps facilitate problem-solving and discussion on how to implement research evidence to prevent falls in older adults.

The free bilingual communication platform allows members to:

  • Network: Find an expert, mentor or collaborator. Search members by area of expertise, location or name.
  • Find answers: Harness the knowledge of more than 1,000 members to find an answer to your fall prevention question quickly and efficiently.
  • Work together: Collaboration tools and private groups make working together online easy. Networks, committees and project teams are welcome to join Loop.
  • Access evidence: A free library service and help finding evidence-based information.

Build a profile on Loop and start interacting with the Loop members. Visit www.fallsloop.com.


Fall Prevention Month

There are many organizations and individuals working hard to increase awareness of falls and encourage action to prevent injuries from falls. In 2014 the Fall Prevention Community of Practice identified the need to mobilize stakeholders in Ontario in a co-ordinated way to increase the impact of their work. In 2015 ONF and the Fall Prevention CoP rounded up 11 other injury prevention partners to take the lead on declaring November as Fall Prevention Month.

Led by ONF, the Fall Prevention Month partners have produced a bilingual website and toolkit of resources to help organizations succeed with their fall prevention initiatives. The toolkit contains printable fall prevention resources for older adults and caregivers, current fall statistics and infographics to support information-sharing, planning guides for simple fall prevention initiatives, promotional materials and evaluation tools. Organizations in Ontario and beyond participate by actively sharing evidence-based information and planning fall prevention initiatives that will be highlighted during November.

For more about Fall Prevention Month please visit www.fallpreventionmonth.ca.


Prevention of Adult Falls

Until recently, fall prevention research has focused on the aging population and children, giving little attention to adults in their mid-life years. In ONF-funded research conducted by the Life Span Adaptation Projects, University of Toronto, Dr. Rick Volpe completed a worldwide investigation of “Best Practices in the Prevention of Mid-life Falls in Everyday Activitiess”.

Using a case study approach, the study also identified positive implications of preventing falls across the life span. In particular, the findings contribute to the case for an early intervention rationale for the prevention of falls in older adults.

The results have important practice and programming insights for neurotrauma prevention activities. Specifically, the report reveals that balance training is a common feature in effective fall prevention programs. This review has shown that effective interventions exist to minimize the social and economic burden of mid-life falls related to everyday activities.

For more information, contact: Dr. Rick Volpe, richard.volpe@utoronto.com, consult the report here or engage in a lively discussion on this issue on Loop.


Stay on Your Feet

ONF supported the adaptation, implementation and evaluation of Stay on Your Feet (SOYF), an evidence-informed fall prevention program that originated in Australia. SOYF was successfully piloted with older adults in three Ontario communities. The core strategies of SOYF include: raising awareness, community education, developing policies, home hazard reduction, medication safety and partnerships with health professionals.

Other similar programs are in use today, the SOYF program continues to be used in various Ontario regions.

For more information about the SOYF program, please consult the following three documents:

The Queensland, Australia SOYF Framework is also an excellent resource.


A Million Messages - fall prevention in children

A Million Messages (AMM) is a comprehensive program to standardize injury prevention messages given to parents of children under six years. Each message is simple, consistent, routine, and targets an issue that affects children at the appropriate stage in their development. The program experienced tremendous success in Alberta. The goal is to extend and increase the exposure of this program across Ontario. ONF partnered with Public Health Ontario to provide the initial two years of funding for this project. This funding was renewed for one year in 2016 with the support of a Knowledge Exchange grant. A child fall prevention component is also included in this program.