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  • Falls Prevention Awareness Gets Boost from Annual Observance

    A 3-day falls prevention conference hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) recently brought together 16 states and key organizations together to promote integrated falls prevention interventions. Three physical therapists (PTs) attended, including Lynn Beattie, PT, MPT, of the National Council on Aging. Beattie represented the State Coalitions on Fall Prevention Workgroup and the national coalition activities engaged in promoting greater federal funding of program development and clinical reimbursement. 

    Tiffany Shubert, PT, PhD, research scientist at the Center for Aging and Health, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, and Terry Shea, PT, GCS, NCS, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, are collaborating with CDC and the UNC Geriatric Education Center to develop and offer a training/certification program for PTs to learn Otago, a reimbursable activity under Medicare Part A, or for private care PTs under Part B.

    Three states (Colorado, Oregon, and New York) are being funded by CDC over 5 years to implement community fall prevention programs (Stepping On, and Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance); a health care provider activity (STEADI: Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) to promote provider screening, assessment, and referral; and the health care-community integrated program Otago that is delivered by physical therapists in the homes of frail, elderly people at risk of falls.

    In celebration of the 4th Annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day held September 23, 43 states, DC, and Puerto Rico hosted local and statewide events to bring awareness to the issue and to offer screening and resources for taking action. APTA member Eileen Bach, PT, DPT, MEd, COS-C, hosted a "Sharing Real World Experiences in Reducing Fall Risk" event at her clinic in New York. APTA member Jane L. Wetzel, PT, PhD, and staff in the Youngstown State University Department of Physical Therapy, in Youngstown, Ohio, hosted an event designed to introduce health care professionals to local resources and state-of-the-art evaluation procedures for assessing falls risk and balance.

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