Start a Coalition

Section 1: Introduction/Getting Started

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults in the United States. See falls data and falls facts.

Falls are associated with complications such as limited social interaction, functional decline, and depression and are a strong predictor of skilled nursing facility placement.

In addition, fall-related injuries and complications result in significant strain on the healthcare system. Wisconsin has the highest rate of fall-related deaths for adults over the age of 65.

Falls Free Wisconsin Coalition

The Falls Free Wisconsin Coalition is committed to improving health outcomes and healthy aging among older adults in Wisconsin using a collective impact approach. Made up of community-based organizations such as aging offices and Aging & Disability Resource Centers, health care providers and systems, local falls and injury prevention coalitions, and others, the group is focused on:

  • Raising awareness of the physical, emotional, and financial impact of falls.

  • Identifying/sharing best practices to promote safe mobility, strength, and improved balance.

  • Engaging in policy and systems change to improve prevention of and response to falls.

  • Collecting and analyzing falls data and providing data customization for local communities

Intended Audience

This toolkit is designed to meet a wide variety of communities and organizations, including:

  • Communities interested in starting a coalition.

  • Communities interested in incorporating falls prevention initiatives into an existing wellness committee or coalition.

  • Communities with an existing coalition interested in strengthening/re-energizing efforts.

Throughout this document, the term coalition will be used to broadly refer to all collaborative efforts for fall prevention.

Benefits of Coalition

Developing a county coalition can play an important role in changing systems to address fall prevention. A coalition to address falls and fall-related injuries can offer a variety of opportunities and advantages, which include:

  • Provide common forum for diverse organizations to address falls and barriers to safe mobility and healthy aging.

  • Foster trust and communication among member organizations.

  • Create a nonpartisan forum for addressing fall prevention on a community level.

  • Provide opportunities for a variety of stakeholder contributions.

  • Raise public awareness across multiple stakeholders.

  • Foster the maximization of state and local resources.

  • Identify gaps in resource utilization and allocation to target infrastructure building efforts.

  • Build upon current ongoing efforts.

  • Deter duplication of efforts.

Recommendations for Starting a Coalition

The key recommendation from coalitions across the state and the country is to be inclusive. All members of a community, including consumers, providers, policy makers, older adults themselves, and others, have a role to play in reducing the number of falls and falls-related injuries among older adults and promoting best practices for maintaining independence, safe mobility, and strength and balance. Other recommendations include the following:

  • Use the state and local data to define the issues and their impact to design strategies.

  • Target those at risk, but increase the availability of tools, resources, and programs so all aging adults can reduce their individual risks and maintain their independence.

  • Inventory what programming and partnerships already exist that can be leveraged or used to identify state and community leaders.

  • Seek out opportunities to create and nurture effective partnerships between healthcare providers and the aging services network – include the Home Care Agencies as a bridge to homebound older adults.

  • Seek out opportunities to engage students in professional training programs.

  • Develop strategies to link healthcare, aging, research networks as well as your region’s trauma advisory coordinator/council (RTAC).

  • Seek out and adapt evidence-based solutions to community issues.

  • Employ strategies that are measurable/feasible and reflect collaboration and partnership.

  • Employ sustainable strategies that make effective use of resources.

  • Increase awareness among community members on fall prevention strategies.

Additional Resources to Start a Coalition
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