Category: Maximizing Quality of Life

15 - The Community-Dwelling Geriatric Fall Risk Education and Intervention Project

Nationally, one-third of adults 65-years and older fall annually, leading to 2.5 million injuries and more than 21,700 deaths per year.  In Florida, falls are the leading cause of injury death in residents 65 years of age and older.  Although community-dwelling older adults make up nearly one fifth of the population, Polk County lacks age-specific fall prevention programs.  The purpose of this project is to decrease falls and fall risk factors, by improving fall self-efficacy, ability to identify environmental fall risks, and strength, gait, and balance in frail homebound older adults in Florida.

This project used a multifaceted educational program focusing on common causes of falls, home assessment and modifications, and exercise for balance and stability.  The evidence-based framework for the project was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program, STopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI).  The program was piloted with three clients to identify modifications needed before final implementation.  The final project was implemented with 15 homebound older adults. This project took place over 16 weeks with pre and post assessments for fall risk self-efficacy, strength and balance, and environmental risks.  At five weeks, clients were educated on their fall risk category and provided risk-specific education.  At ten weeks, clients created an exercise goal for the following month.  The  post-intervention assessments were done at sixteen weeks.  Data found an improvement in fall self-efficacy, identification of fall safety risks, strength and balance tests, and a 50% decrease in falls.


Implication for APN practice and care of older adults is that a multi-faceted fall education and intervention program is feasible and beneficial for frailer homebound older adults living independently in the community.  This project also displayed that fall prevention education can improve older adults’ self-efficacy regarding falls and aid them in changing their environment for safety.


 

Allison Cahalan

DNP, RN
Rush University
Lakeland, Florida

I recently graduated with my Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Adult Gerontology Primary Care. This project was completed in August of 2017 as my DNP Capstone project.

Joanne Miller

PhD, APN/GNP-BC, Associate Professor, Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing Rush University, College of Nursing
Rush University
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Miller is the faculty advisor that oversaw this project and is a co-author. She is a PhD, APN/GNP-BC, and Associate Professor of Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, IL.