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Falls Prevention

Sure Steps is a community-based falls prevention effort to inform Johnson County residents about the costs and risk factors associated with falls, encourage prevention steps, and utilize services available for seniors. 

 

While falls occur at all ages, the consequences for older adults are especially costly, including loss of independence and mobility. When a senior falls, the impact can extend to family members, employers, health care systems, and the community. Reducing the risk of falls calls for a community effort-everyone can do something to help prevent falls.

Project Goals

  • Increase awareness of personal and direct costs of falls for seniors; draw attention to steps that can reduce falls. 
  • Increase home safety and personal risk assessment usage to help seniors and their caregivers identify risks and make modifications.
  • Motivate seniors to increase physical activity utilizing exercises appropriate for individual ability levels; provide fitness resource guides for activities throughout Johnson County.
  • Develop prevention training for care providers: web-based modules for health care professionals; materials for in-home service providers and volunteers. 
  • Strengthen transitional care coordination from health care settings to community-based services to prevent future falls.

History

Sure Steps grew out of Johnson County Livable Community Falls Prevention Action Team’s efforts to form a collaborative coalition, develop a project plan, and secure funding. In 2010, the coalition was awarded a two-year Wellmark Foundation grant to implement a self-sustaining falls prevention effort in Johnson County.

The need for a falls prevention effort was suggested to the Johnson County Livable Community Policy Board by Suellen Novotny, Executive Director of the Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County. In response, JCLC volunteers formed a Falls Prevention Action Team. A subcommittee focused on options to form a collaborative coalition, develop a project plan, and secure funding. The Sure Steps Coalition grew out of this Action Team’s efforts. Sure Steps is a community-based falls prevention effort to inform Johnson County residents about the costs and risk factors associated with falls, and to encourage utilization of prevention steps and services available for seniors. In 2010, the Sure Steps Coalition was awarded funding from the Wellmark Foundation for a two-year project to develop and implement a self-sustaining falls prevention effort in Johnson County. 

 

The Falls Prevention Action Team continues to carry out the Sure Steps falls prevention outreach program in Johnson County through its volunteer members and the Johnson County service provider community. Falls Prevention is now a focus of state and national efforts. Sure Steps focuses on four key areas: Physical Activity, Medication Review, Vision Checks, and Home Safety.

Stepping On Workshops: Summer & Fall 2017

  • Summer Session:  Fridays, 9:30-11:30am, July 14-Sept. 1
  • Fall Session:  Thursdays, 9:30-11:30am, Sept. 28- Nov. 9
(download the brochure) The VNA is now holding Stepping On workshops in both the summer and fall, at 1524 Sycamore St., Iowa City. This program is for independent community-dwelling older adults who have fallen, are at risk of falling, or who have a fear of falling. Participants will learn to better manage their own risk of falls and take steps to prevent falls. Participants will practice strength and balance exercises and learn how medications, vision, safe footwear, and home modifications can affect risk of falls. Register online by visiting www.vnaic.org/fall-prevention or contact the Visiting Nurse Association at 319-337-9686 ext. 1155. 

 

    Falls by the numbers

    • Every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury.
    • Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.
    • In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion.
    • Falls in adults aged 65+ are the leading cause of head injuries and broken hips.
    • Unintentional fall-related injuries and deaths are on the rise in Iowa.
    • For older Iowans, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths.
    • Causes for falls vary, but often can be related to lower extremity weakness, poor vision,medications, chronic health problems, and unsafe home conditions.