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Supporting Regional Excellence in Falls Prevention: A Progress Update

In this third article focusing on the Champlain Falls Prevention Strategy, we look at the six foundational pillars of the strategy and what progress was made towards advancing each one in 2014-2015.

The Champlain Regional Falls Prevention Strategy was planned with a system change approach in mind. Composed of six foundational pillars, the strategy was developed by a Steering committee made up of members from across health care sectors. During the 2014-2015 fiscal year work was undertaken to advance each pillar, with support to ensure that the plans were linked together strategically.

Pillar 1 – Public awareness and engagement

Increase awareness of the risk factors associated with falls and promote preventive measures to reduce the number and impact of falls on seniors in Champlain.

2014-15 progress:

Public health units in the region have adopted the use of the Staying Independent Checklist as a self-screening tool for older adults in the community. This is being aligned with the Champlain Falls Prevention algorithm. Working in conjunction with the Champlain LHIN, the units are implementing a communications plan from February to June 2015. Primary Care physicians received communications in the initial stages that included the Staying Independent Checklist and the Champlain Falls Prevention algorithm.

Pillar 2 – Detection, diagnosis and intervention

Ensure that robust, reliable tools and leading practices are used for the detection and diagnosis of falls- related conditions and risk factors. Ensure comprehensive identification of seniors across the aging continuum and tailored interventions that respond to the psychosocial, cognitive, environmental and behavioural needs of the patient.

2014-15 progress:

The Champlain Falls Prevention algorithm and Staying Independent Checklist were refined based on feedback received from December 2013 to March 2014. These tools are now available in French and English on the RGPEO and Champlain Healthline websites, and on the stopfalls.ca and arretonsleschutes.ca domains. They are now ready for use in the following nine community and primary care sites with education support for community teams provided by Public Health.

Over the past six months the following sites have received training and have begun using the tools in their health care practice settings.

  • Barry’s Bay Home Support services
  • Seven retirement homes in Ottawa, Renfrew and Eastern Counties
  • Primary Care Outreach teams at Seaway Valley CHC and Pinecrest Queensway CHC
  • Geriatric Assessment Clinic in Primary Care
  • EMS services in Eastern Counties
  • Renfrew County GEM Program

The Practice Solutions group has also completed work to integrate the Falls Prevention algorithm into the Electronic Medical Record.

Pillar 3 – Provider Best Practice

Ensure seniors receive coordinated care, based on evidence and leading practices around falls prevention and injury reduction.

2014-15 progress:

A Falls Prevention module for training Personal Support Workers (PSW) has been developed for use by Public Health Units. The module was used during the training of PSWs in the community and Retirement Homes in January and early February 2015. It may require further refinement based on feedback from these sessions. Public Health will be driving this initiative.

Registered health care professionals will receive education on the Checklist and algorithm as usage rolls out across the region.  An accredited online education module is in the early stages of development in conjunction with the University of Ottawa. This module will initially focus on the needs of physicians but will be developed with other health professionals in mind for the future.

Pillar 4 – Performance monitoring and evaluation

Support a Champlain fall prevention structure to implement, monitor and sustain quality practices and services across all sectors.

2014-15 progress and outcome:

A Logic Model for the Champlain Falls Prevention strategy has been developed with specific outcome measures to inform future directions for the Steering Committee. This tool supports the LHIN Scorecard targets for reducing Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations for falls-related conditions in seniors over 65 years old and for residents of Long-Term Care. A local marker to understand admissions to hospital for seniors with hip fracture will be included in the data to be collected.

Pillar 5 – System integration and navigation

Provide better system integration across sectors that deliver detection, diagnosis, interventions and supports related to falls prevention for seniors in Champlain. Coordinate care related to falls prevention that will simplify and allow better navigation of patients throughout the system.

2014-15 progress and outcome:

System navigation is a very complex and critical factor in ensuring that seniors access the programs and services that will best meet their needs. For the Falls Prevention Strategy, the Committee agreed to focus on the ability to navigate into and between the various exercise classes that are funded through the Champlain LHIN / MOHLTC and design a navigation process to facilitate access.

Pillar 6 – Advocacy

Ensure a voice at the patient, family, community and system level that will address systemic issues related to falls prevention.

2014-15 progress and outcome:

The issues and challenges related to falls and falls prevention that have been identified by the Committee were shared with the Champlain LHIN Board and Medical Officers of Health from the Public Health Units. In addition, presentations on falls prevention and the work of the Committee have been made to various other groups.

Article written by: Christine Bidmead (cbidmead@toh.on.ca), Project Manager, Champlain Falls Prevention Strategy


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