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CDC and APhA Launch Online Training on Older Adult Fall Prevention

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STEADI: The Pharmacist’s Role in Older Adult Fall Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), launched STEADI: The Pharmacist’s Role in Older Adult Fall Prevention on March 24 at the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco. The free, online, application-based activity is based on CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) initiative (www.cdc.gov/steadi). The training is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

One of the most significant — yet modifiable — risk factors for falls in older adults is medication use. As a result, pharmacists play a pivotal role in helping older Americans avoid falls.

With more than 10,000 people in the U.S. turning 65 every day, and Americans living longer than ever, the number of older adults affected by falls continues to grow. In 2014 alone, 29 million older Americans fell, resulting in seven million injuries and costing an estimated $31 billion in annual Medicare expenditures. i

“Pharmacists have been asking for tools to help make an impact on this growing public health challenge, so we developed the STEADI training specifically for them,” said Grant Baldwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC. “The training emphasizes that pharmacists are uniquely positioned to work with both patients and prescribers to identify risk factors and perform appropriate fall prevention interventions.”

After completing the training, pharmacists will be able to:

  • Describe the burden of falls among older adults
  • Identify health conditions and types of medications that increase fall risk
  • Implement fall screening, assess risk factors, and offer prevention strategies
  • Discuss strategies to improve patient care coordination for fall prevention

“APhA is proud to partner with the CDC to bring the STEADI training to pharmacists across America,” said APhA Chief Operating Officer, Elizabeth K. Keyes, BSPharm. “Pharmacists are medication experts who serve as essential health care providers for older adults who could be at risk of falling. This training highlights how pharmacists can help prevent medication-related falls, identify and mitigate fall risk, and serve as a public health solution through the patient care services they routinely provide.”

Pharmacists can easily integrate screening into their routine practice. The first step is to review the patient profile and take the time to ask patients about risk factors:

  1. Do you have a history of falls? If so, this can be a risk for future falls.
  2. What health conditions do you have? Health conditions such as lower body weakness, vision problems, or foot problems can lead to balance problems, unsteadiness, or tripping.
  3. What medications do you take? Use of medicines such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants or even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.

For more information and to access the STEADI: The Pharmacist’s Role in Older Adult Fall Prevention training, click here. The training is free.

i Bergen G, Stevens MR, Burns ER. Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:993–998. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6537a2.

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