The Spokane Valley Fire Department, other area wide agencies, and First Responders nationally are all experiencing an increase in calls for service for older adult falls. Older adult falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and deaths in Spokane County. Falls-related Emergency Medical Service calls are the leading non-fire response related calls in Spokane County.
Over the last decade, older adult fall-related hospitalizations have increased by 30% nationwide. There is an estimated 50 billion dollars spent annually on medical expenses associated with older adult falls in the United States. The leading factor for being at risk of a fall is having experienced a fall, especially with an injury.
Being able to provide resources for falls prevention education and programs to those at highest risk for future falls often proves difficult. As fire department and EMS staff are considered to be trusted sources of health-related information, providing an informational Falls Matter flyer for in-person distribution is an ideal method for increasing public awareness.
The goal of the program is to decrease the percentage of repeat falls-related EMS calls in the service areas of both City of Spokane and Spokane Valley Fire Departments. Data from both City of Spokane and Spokane Valley Fire Departments has been evaluated by their respective Community Risk Reduction representatives confirming the volume of falls-related, non-fire calls. Both departments have identified their high-volume areas and stations that will participate in the pilot program.
The pilot program will run for three consecutive months, running from January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020. The pilot will address older adult, fall calls with and without ambulance transport. The pilot will address older adult, fall calls with and without reported injuries. Because the Older Americans Act funding sets the minimum age at 60, the pilot will include older adults aged 60 and above. The pilot audience will be English speaking and include those adults that are cognitively intact and currently living in a residential setting.
Upon completion of the pilot program, the data will be evaluated and a determination made about any revisions to the flyer and data collection points; additional distribution methods will also be discussed. A further determination will decide whether an additional pilot is required, whether a program roll-out is appropriate, or whether a new approach is deemed necessary.
Data collection will include:
- Count of flyers distributed
- Count of fall incidents
- Count of repeat fall incident callers
- Count of calls and website visits made to SRHD and ALTCEW
For more information on this pilot program call 509.928.1700 and ask to speak with a Community Risk Reduction Manager.
Documents on the Pilot Program can be read by clicking on the following titles:
Falls Subcommittee Executive Summary, November 2019
Falls Matter Crew Information Flyer