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Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion
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Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion

Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion

Fall Prevention

Falls are the most common cause of injuries among senior residents over 65 and are the top reason for a hospital admission for trauma. Advanced age substantially increases the likelihood of hospitalization after a fall. Falls account for 87% of all fractures among people aged 65 years or older. Every year 1 in 3 older adults fall.  Nearly 30% suffer serious injuries.




Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries - Tool Kit for Health Care Providers


Stepping On program for seniors

“Stepping On” is a well researched, “best practice”, comprehensive falls prevention program designed to change behaviors and increase self-confidence for people over 65 years of age.

Community Medical Center has taken the lead in bringing Stepping On to Missoula County, supported by a small grant from the State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The program is led by a nurse or therapist who has been officially trained as a Master Trainer, by a Peer Educator, and by specialists from the community. It consists of one 2-hour session each week for seven weeks. The small group of students consists of people over 65 years of age who can walk independently (canes and walkers are acceptable).

 Classes are usually held in March and September of each year, at the Ronald McDonald House at Fort Missoula.  For more information, or to put your name on a waiting list, call Mary Thane, 532-6276.

Stepping On - summary of each session:

The initial 7 sessions are followed by a 3-month and a 6-month phone call.

fall prevention logo

7 Ways to Prevent a Fall

Tips from the National Council on Aging

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program.  Join a health club, and take a friend; enroll in a Stepping On class!  Balance exercises from the National Institutes for Health

  2. Talk with your Health Care Provider.  Ask for a fall risk assessment.

  3. Regularly review your medications with your pharmacist or doctor. Make sure you are taking the right medication at the right time, in the right amount.

  4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses.  Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.

  5. Keep your home safe. Remove hazards, improve lighting, etc.

    Home Hazards - CDC
    Home Safety Checklist - Missoula Health Dept. pamphlet
  6. Talk with family members.  Get their support and enlist their help.

  7. Remember the importance of Vitamin D - it maintains strong bones, strengthens our immune system, and is crucial for muscle strength. Low levels of Vitamin D contribute to fall risk. Vitamin D Quick Facts - National Institutes for Health

Missoula Fall Prevention Project

In 2009, the Health Department, together with several UM students, began to build a community team to enhance what currently is in place to reduce both the number and severity of falls among our older residents. Our bigger goal is to help more Missoula County older people be active, independent, healthy and remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

The founding members include:

Many other agencies, organizations, and health care providers have expressed support for the Project, share an interest in fall prevention, and have assisted in one way or another.



   Fall Risk Assessment Screening Tool (FRAST)

The Fall Risk Assessment Screening Tool (FRAST), see link below, has recently been developed at the University of Montana. It is a simple-to-administer tool designed to quickly identify specific fall risks in people over the age of 65 who are able to walk safely on their own with or without a cane or walker.

Although it was designed to be administered by health care provider office staff, it can also be used by other agencies as well as family members of older people to help gauge risk and promote informed discussion about effective fall prevention. Give it a try. Anyone scoring in the medium or high fall risk category should be encouraged to discuss the results with their primary care provider.

Fall Risk Assessment Screening Tool



   Other resources

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