Engaging community organizations in falls prevention for older adults: Moving from research to action

Maureen F. Markle-Reid, Catherine S. Dykeman, Holly D. Reimer, Lorna J. Boratto, Carol E. Goodall, Jennifer L. McGugan


OBJECTIVES: Falls prevention (FP) evidence abounds but falls rates remain relatively unaffected. This study aimed to explore community service providers’ use of evidence-based FP interventions, attitudes toward implementation, knowledge and capacity for FP engagement, collaboration in FP, and organizational readiness to implement evidence. To our knowledge, this is the first study exploring the potential for broader integration of FP throughout communities.

METHODS: A purposive sampling of providers (n = 84), in varied roles within diverse senior-serving community organizations (both health and non-health sectors) across disparate geographies, completed a structured survey as part of a larger mixed methods study.

RESULTS: Nearly all (90%) reported already implementing at least one evidence-based FP practice. The majority indicated that falls were preventable (82%) and a top concern for older adults (75%), and that FP would be beneficial to their clients (75%). There were, however, notable differences between health and non-health sectors in their: confidence in providing FP activities (86% vs. 47%), desire for future collaboration (86% vs. 56%) and already knowing how best to provide FP activities (49% vs. 36%). Only some (21%) perceived that staff to a great extent had the necessary knowledge and skills, and few (10%) perceived that available resources could support FP activities.

CONCLUSION: Community service providers generally supported FP, but resources limited implementation, particularly in non-health sectors. Translating FP evidence to better fit community settings, and fostering collaboration to bridge resource gaps, suggest a public health role in the broader integration of FP within and across community sectors.


Fall prevention; community-dwelling; older adults; public health

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.106.4776