Falls Prevention Awareness Day — September 22, 2016

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September 22, 2016, marks the 9th annual observation of Falls Prevention Awareness Day in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of injury, death, and disability for older persons in the United States.* This issue of MMWR includes a report describing the epidemiology of falls among older adults, and how health care providers can use CDC’s STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) initiative to reduce preventable falls. STEADI provides tools for health care providers to screen older adult patients, assess fall risk, and provide effective interventions.

In 2011, health department and health system partnerships in Oregon and New York used CDC funding to implement STEADI into their primary care practices (1). Before implementing STEADI, health care providers in these sites rarely talked to their older adult patients about falls (1,2). After implementation, participating health care providers in New York screened and assessed 65% of older adult patients for fall risk (2), and participating health care providers in Oregon screened and assessed approximately half of all older adult patients (1).

To help prevent older adult falls, health care providers are encouraged to take three steps: 1) screen patients for fall risk, 2) review and manage patients’ medications that might increase fall risk, and 3) recommend daily vitamin D supplements for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/steadi.


  1. Casey CM, Parker EM, Winkler G, Liu X, Lambert GH, Eckstrom E. Lessons learned from implementing CDC’s STEADI falls prevention algorithm in primary care. Gerontologist 2016;gnw074. CrossRef
  2. Parker EM, Lee R, Floyd F, et al. Making older adult fall prevention part of routine care in a large health system in New York state. Gerontologist 2015;55(Suppl 2):320.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=26035609&dopt=Abstract PubMed

Suggested citation for this article: Falls Prevention Awareness Day — September 22, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:993. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6537a1.

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