KaatumisSeula® was found to be a feasible approach to screen the fall risk of older adults and implement preventive measures in community. New tools created for fall risk screening and informing evidence-based preventive measures make it possible for NGOs and non-professionals to co-operate with professionals.
Background: Why this was needed?
Compelling scientific evidence shows that every third fall among older adults can be prevented. It is also known that effective preventive measures need to be based on knowledge of individual fall risk. This underscores importance of fall risk screening.
In Finland, risk screening and preventive measures are not used systematically. Thus, implementation of evidence-based methods for communities is necessary. Typically fall prevention has been done by health care professionals. However, volunteers and those working at non-profit sectors (NGOs) meet a lot of older adults in their activities – also those who are not visiting healthcare regularly. Therefore, resources of the NGOs should be utilized better in fall prevention.
Objective and actions: What was the purpose and what we offered?
The main objective of KaatumisSeula® project was to create local models for fall risk screening and implementing evidence-based preventive measures. The models were based on co-operation between local health care sector and NGOs and took into consideration local circumstances and resources.
These created models were founded on philosophy of largely offered risk screening and individually tailored preventive measures based on risk screening.
Primary risk screening was offered for older people by health care sector and NGOs. Especially NGOs used self-rated fall risk screening tool developed in this project.
People with potentially at high fall risk, based on primary risk screening, were referred to comprehensive assessment of individual fall risk and tailored implementation of preventive measures by educated health care professionals. This approach is based on the multifactorial Chaos Falls Clinic Study*.
NGOs played a central role in not only screening but also informing about fall prevention measures and offering accessible balance and strength training for those with low risk. Exercise, especially balance and strength training, has been found to be the most effective single intervention in fall prevention, and is therefore the most important preventive measure in terms of primary prevention.
Results: How did it work?
Two different local models for fall prevention were created.
NGOs were active and keen in their role. In addition to five national associations, 27 local NGOs were involved in two municipalities and their neighboring areas.
Self-rated fall risk assessment tool was created as screening tool for NGOs. In addition, three new educational materials were produced primarily for helping NGOs to inform evidence-based fall preventive measures. Over 57,000 flyers and other materials were delivered and thousands of self-rated fall risk assessments were done during the 3-year project.
Health care and physical activity professionals and NGOs received education. Also older adults were offered easily achievable information sessions. Almost 5,000 people participated in local information and education sessions.
Falls clinics helped those at high risk of falling. During the project two Falls Clinics started and 439 older adults found their ways to the multifactorial fall risk assessment. More than every third was found to be at high fall risk. Tailored fall prevention measures lowered the fall risk score by 22% among those with one follow-up visit and by 27% among those with two follow-up visits.
What are we doing now?
All the produced tools and other materials in Finnish, Swedish and English are freely available at the website www.kaatumisseula.fi.
Other municipalities, areas and NGOs in Finland are encouraging to take advantage for the created models and produced materials, and to implement evidence-based fall prevention measures.
In addition to Finnish, process evaluation and main results of the project will be reported in English.
Read more about the project
Handout: A handout of the poster presentation concerning the project (pdf). Presented at the IAGG 2017 World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics held in San Francisco.
Abstract: Karinkanta S, Kulmala T, Kannus P, Vasankari T, Sievänen H. KAATUMISSEULA®: implementation of evidence-based fall prevention for communities. Innovation in Aging 2017;1(S1):522-523.
*Reference: Palvanen M et al. Effectiveness of the Chaos Falls Clinic in preventing falls and injuries of home-dwelling older adults: a randomised controlled trial. Injury 2014;45:265-71.
Last updated: 2.11.2020