Developing a Fall Prevention Program
After previously looking at how to start a fall prevention program, we're now going to focus on the development of programs. For Manheim Township, Pa., EMS, the most significant program challenge is identifying at-risk seniors before a fall and 911 call occurs. Wellness Coordinator James Weber uses a combination of direct mail, speaking engagements, social media marketing, and newspaper and television public service announcements to counter the challenges.
Social media marketing has included purchasing ads on Facebook. While this novel approach to purchasing ads on Facebook has not yielded many potential participants, a comprehensive marketing approach casts a wider net to include many more seniors than any single effort.
Since most referrals come from family members, the next significant challenge is convincing the senior that a fall assessment would be helpful. Mr. Weber believes that an assessment and corrective actions will help an at-risk individual retain independence instead of limiting independence.
Mr. Weber has these tips for other EMS services that are starting a falls prevention program:
• Know the community you serve. Who lives there? What are their needs? How can you connect with them?
• Customize existing fall prevention programs and assessments for the unique factors of your program.
• Identify patients at-risk by a comprehensive analysis of factors, not just age. Many seniors over 65 are not at risk of falling.
• Explore all opportunities for getting out information about the program.
Finally, Mr. Weber told me that the falls prevention program has been a "phenomenal public relations tool" for his service. An active injury prevention program will help your community know and appreciate EMS. To learn more about Manheim Township EMS, visit http://www.manheimtownshipems.org.