Check the frequently asked questions below for more information about falls, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (FPCE), and using www.stopfalls.org.
According to the data compiled from the 1997 and 1998 National Health Interview Survey, the majority (55%) of fall injuries among older people occurred inside the house, whereas an additional 23% occurred outside but near the house and 22% occurred away from the home (Kochera, 2002). In addition, Gill et al. (2000) reported that older persons who resided in dwelling units that had no stairs fell in the following areas: hallways (10%), bathrooms (13%), kitchens (19%), bedrooms (30%), and living rooms (31%).
Falls have devastating consequences for older adults in terms of morbidity and mortality. For example, falls and fall-related injuries have been the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults (Stevens, 2002/2003). Fall-related hip fractures account for approximately 25 percent of injury deaths among those over age 65, and 34 percent of injury deaths among those aged 85 or older (Peek-Asa & Zwerling, 2003).
Risk factors associated with falls include intrinsic factors (e.g., age-related physiological changes, impairments to the sensory-nervous system, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and specific acute and chronic diseases) as well as extrinsic factors (e.g., environmental hazards and obstacles interfering with safe mobility, and medication side effects) (Steinberg, Cartwright, Peel, & Williams, 2000; Tideiksaar, 2001).
Various types of intervention strategies have been implemented with different target populations and in a variety of settings (Rose, 2002/2003). In general, these intervention strategies include, but are not limited to: (1) fall risk assessment and management (including medication management), (2) physical activity-based interventions, (3) environmental modifications, (4) education, (5) assistive devices, (6) visual interventions, and (7) footwear interventions.
Research indicates that the most effective interventions to prevent falls for persons at moderate to high risk of falls are multi-factorial, including environmental modifications along with risk assessment (including medication management) and physical activity (exercise).
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Questions About FPCE and this Website
The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence includes the following partners:
- University of Southern California’s Andrus Gerontology Center (Andrus);
- The Center for Successful Aging (CSA) at California State University, Fullerton;
- The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC);
- University of California Los Angeles, School of Medicine;
- The California Department of Public Health, Safe and Active Communities Branch (SACB).
Our vision is to create a Center of excellence to ensure the independence, safety, and well-being of older persons through fall prevention. Our mission is to provide leadership, create new knowledge, and develop sustainable programs for seniors and their families, professionals, program administrators, and policymakers. We seek to better understand and identify causes of falls and develop effective interventions at individual, program and systems levels.
The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence is headquartered at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center.
Yes. The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence encourages non-profit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to link to www.stopfalls.org. Please note that you can link to this website without permission or charge.
Does your Center have a national focus or are you primarily concerned with preventing falls in California?
Our Center’s focus is on fall prevention in the state of California. However, we believe our multifactorial approach toward fall prevention should be employed nationwide.