November is Fall Prevention Month
November 2019 blog post written by Marguerite Oberle Thomas, RN., BScN.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides essential information on Canada’s health systems and the health of Canadians. CIHI reports the following:
- In 2017–2018, 51 percent of all injury-related hospitalizations in Canada were for seniors age 65 and older.
- During that period, 137,568 seniors were hospitalized because of injuries and 37 percent of those hospitalizations were males while 63 percent were females.
- From 2017-2018, 81 percent of injury-related hospitalizations among seniors were due to falls.
- From 2015–2016 to 2017–2018, the volume of injury-related hospitalizations among seniors increased by 9 percent.
The main cause of such hospitalizations among seniors during that period was falls, the volume of which increased by 9 percent. According to new data released by CIHI, there were more than 2 million reported emergency department (ED) visits due to injury last year – 653,808 of which were the result of unintentional falls (results are based on partial ED coverage for injuries, at 52 percent). There were also more than 263,000 injury and trauma hospitalizations last year (meaning the patient spent at least one night as an inpatient). Unintentional falls resulted in almost 1,800 reported ED visits and 417 hospital stays every day last year, making them the most common cause of injury in 2016–2017.
Fall Prevention Month is an annual campaign initiated by partnering organizations who work with health practitioners dedicated to preventing falls among adults, older adults, and children. The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Partners for Fall Prevention Month encourage organizations and individuals in Canada and beyond to come together to coordinate fall prevention efforts for a greater impact. The focal point of previous Fall Prevention Month campaigns has primarily been on adult and older adult fall prevention. As of November 2018, the campaign has expanded its focus to falls across the lifespan, including childhood fall prevention.
Why do we need to promote Fall Prevention Month? The motto says it all “All Canadians have a role to play in preventing falls” When someone falls, it affects the individual, the family, the community and the health care system. Moreover, given that falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults and are the leading cause for hospital admissions from injuries for children, the importance of taking action is imperative.
The Fall Prevention Month website is available to any organization or individual interested in planning Fall Prevention activities during the month of November and sharing evidence-based information. The bilingual website features free resources to help practitioners organize and promote their own fall prevention month activity or event (e.g., ongoing programs and interventions, ideas for activities, media and promotional materials, etc.) and resources that provide information on a variety of topics related to fall prevention month (e.g., statistics and infographics, practitioner resources, etc.). The website has been updated to include a children resources section, along with additional bilingual content and promotional materials.
Some examples of resources include the following: evaluation tools for practitioners; information for older adults and their caregivers (e.g., general fall prevention literature, specific topics for nutrition, vision, medication safety, bone health, balance and home safety, etc.); information for parents and caregivers (e.g., prevent falls from windows); information for health care workers to share with parents and caregivers (e.g., child safety link resources); resources to help practitioners take action (e.g., the “Safe Winter Walking” campaign for a multi-pronged approach, games, displays, ideas for active living and exercise, etc.); and resources to help promote the campaign. Are you keen on promotion and media? There is a branded media package, personal stories, tools for “How to Engage the Media”, sample news releases, social media guide, as well as fall prevention month backgrounders). Check out the type of helpful information available.
If you require further information or help regarding the Fall Prevention Month campaign, please contact Shameeza Allard or Marguerite Thomas. Check out the webinar “Fall Prevention Month 2017: We all have a role to play- Success stories from across Canada” is available on YouTube or with the slide deck.
Fall Prevention Month Planning Partners across Canada include:
- Finding Balance Alberta
- Saskatoon Health Authority
- Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
- Osteoporosis Canada
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – UHN
About the author: Marguerite Oberle Thomas, RN., BScN. is the Consultant –Liaison of the Fall Prevention Community of Practice.