The Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Falls Prevention Coalition have released a five-year, statewide action plan to reduce older adult falls — the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for adults ages 65 and older from 1999 to 2016.
“Falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls are preventable,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman in an announcement. “There are concrete actions folks can take to reduce risk for falls, and this action plan — which was led by and with communities and providers from across the state — offers some of the clearest guidance yet to help reduce falls-related hospitalizations and death.”
Gov. Jay Inslee also recognized the importance of addressing older adult falls, proclaiming Sept. 22 Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
The action plan details the immense impact of falls in Washington and outlines strategies, desired outcomes and timelines for reducing falls.
The plan highlights six strategic directions for reducing risk of older adult falls:
- Strong and effective community partnerships
- Public awareness and education
- Prevention across the continuum of care
- Expanded reach and access to evidence-based programs and community screenings
- Effective interventions for high-risk and underserved older adults
- Improved safety in homes and communities
Six workgroups – which will include members of the public – will carry out the plan in concert with the department and the coalition. Learn more about the workgroups and get involved.
For people who do experience fall-related injuries, treatment at designated trauma rehabilitation facilities can improve daily function and mobility. These facilities provide 24-hour access to physiatrists and specialists in care coordination, neuropsychological, psychiatry, physical therapy, social work and speech therapy.