Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Developing of a Program Evaluation Framework for a Regional Community-Based Seniors Fall Preventation and Assessment Program

Marlis Stewart
Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital

The World Health Organization Global Report on Fall Prevention in Older Age states that “A tangible difference in the health and quality of life of older people around the world could be achieved by implementing a comprehensive global strategy to reduce falls.” The WHO Falls Prevention for Active Aging model describes three pillars - awareness, assessment and intervention – that are essential parts of a fall prevention strategy. (World Health Organization, 2007.) In the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, the Integrated Regional Falls Program has based its practice on these three aspects through its various services, including screening clinics, home visits, geriatrician consults and referrals to appropriate community services. In order to ensure that the program is providing effective support to older adults who are at risk for falls, a thorough literature review on program evaluation theory as well as on established fall prevention guidelines was undertaken. After consulting with healthcare providers specializing in geriatric care; senior advisors in local health organizations; older adults and their caregivers; and federal, provincial and local government documents, an evaluation framework was proposed.

Through the research I have completed I have determined that appropriate indicators should include measurement of ‘fear of falling’ and adaptation of recommended interventions to help reduce risk of falls and falls-related injuries. By examining indicators such as an increase in the awareness of fall risk (in both seniors and service providers), and an increase in the physical activity and sense of well-being in our clients, we can measure and evaluate our program’s impact on community-dwelling seniors and those involved in their care. With increased monitoring and encouragement to change behaviours, further success will be ensured and the quality of life of older adults in our communities will be enhanced.

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