Ohio: Using a Screening Model To Help Prevent Falls and Injuries Among the Elderly

Injuries from falls can reduce older adults’ quality of life and require elders to forego their independence for care in an assisted living center or nursing home. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths for older Ohioans. On average, an older adult in Ohio falls every minute—resulting in one injury every 2.5 minutes, nine ED visits and two hospitalizations every hour, and three deaths every day. Healthcare providers can play a critical role in reducing their patients’ risk of falling by conducting simple screenings and referrals. Ohio used a portion of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funds to help large-scale Ohio healthcare systems use an evidence-based toolkit for fall prevention. The intervention focuses on increasing fall screenings by healthcare providers and increasing patient referrals for fall prevention education.

To promote screening of patients at risk for a fall, the Ohio Department of Health’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program implemented the evidence-based Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) Toolkit, a suite of replicable tools and resources developed by CDC. The roll-out included a series of tip sheets, in-office clinical staff training sessions, and recorded video sessions for clinical providers.

The OhioHealth Physician Group (OPG), a major healthcare system, chose the  STEADI Toolkit for use in screening at-risk patients. STEADI is different from other programs to prevent falls because it is designed for use at a doctor’s office instead of in a hospital or nursing home. This feature allowed doctors in Ohio to screen patients for fall risk during regular medical appointments and then refer patients to educational programs or physical therapy to help prevent falls at home and in the community.

The program was first piloted by training 36 providers and assessing more than 11,000 patients for fall risk. OPG then began using STEADI at 55 locations across Ohio. As of April 2017, 220 healthcare providers in the state were using STEADI to screen patients for fall risk.

PHHS Block Grant funds are helping screen elderly Ohio patients for fall risks and tailor interventions to reduce their risks for injuries.

Story year: 2017

Photo: Young female Doctor with senior male patient

Ohio used a portion of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funds to help large-scale Ohio healthcare systems use an evidence-based toolkit for fall prevention.

Page last reviewed: February 1, 2019