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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Unintentional Injuries

Dissemination Evaluation of an Older Adult Falls Prevention Program

FOA Number: CE05-022 - Grants to Prevent Unintentional Injury
Project Period: 9/1/05-8/31/08
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000530-01
Principal Investigator: Carri Casteel, BS, MPH, PhD
University of North Carolina-Injury Prevention Research Center
137 E Franklin St, Suite 500, CB# 7505
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7508


Falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury and death among older adults in the United States. Over 50% of fatal and nonfatal fall injuries occur in the home. Outside of the home, senior centers provide a gathering place for older adults and are common in communities throughout the United States, as 11,500 of them serve as sources of both information and support for their clientele. As such, they are potentially powerful mechanisms for delivering injury control interventions to community-dwelling older adults. This proposed study will identify effective methods of disseminating a falls prevention program to senior centers to increase its likelihood of adoption and implementation among older adults.

Project aims are to assess the perceived needs for, and barriers to, adoption and implementation of Safe Steps, a falls prevention program in senior centers; examine the effectiveness of two enhanced dissemination strategies, compared with a mail-out only strategy to promote senior center and older adult adoption and implementation of Safe Steps; identify organizational-level factors that predict increased adoption and implementation of Safe Steps by senior centers; and to identify individual-level factors that predict increased adoption and implementation of Safe Steps by older adults. The aims of the project will be examined by conducting a needs assessment with a national sample of 510 senior centers. Researchers will also use a randomized controlled trial of 180 senior centers equally randomized into: (1) Safe Steps as a mail-out; (2) Safe Steps with a training component aimed at assisting senior center staff in program delivery; or (3) Safe Steps with a dissemination strategy to address the barriers identified in the needs assessment. Successful project outcomes will lead to more effective dissemination and increased adoption and implementation of the Safe Steps program to prevent older adult falls. Learning about factors that contribute to successful dissemination of an injury program will also prove useful for other injury interventions targeting these adults.