Iowa's IPAT is promoting fall prevention and is creating some unique partnerships along the way.
The project started last year when IPAT began collaborating with the Johnson County Livable Community for Successful Aging--Fall Prevention Task Force, led by the Visiting Nurses Association, to raise awareness and provide age-in-place solutions. This year it has plans to expand statewide.
The project has generated a growing interest among a widening group of community partners. Indeed, IPAT Director Jane Gay calls it "a great example of stone soup."
But why is IPAT focusing on fall prevention?
In an email to ATPN, Gay reports:
- About 5.8 million seniors experience at least one fall every three months.
- Falls are responsible for 83.7% of all injury-related hospitalizations in [Iowa's] Johnson and Washington Counties for those 65 and over, and the impact spans the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum.
- About 1.8 million of those who fall seek medical treatment or restrict their activities on the day after their fall.
- Half of all elderly adults hospitalized for hip fracture cannot return home or live independently after the fracture.
- Two-thirds of persons who experience a fall will fall again within six months.
For its year-long campaign, the Fall Prevention Task Force chose a different focus every other month, and IPAT took the lead last March. Fall prevention, Gay notes, "Is one issue that AT and home modifications can play an important role [with]."
About the Project
IPAT's strategy was to create AT and home modification outreach displays for well-traveled locations. These included an elaborate fixed central display for use at a popular mall, and smaller portable versions for rotation countywide. The posters directed readers to IPAT's information and referral service.
Partners and a smart design, Gay emphasizes, helped make it all happen. Here are the details:
The fixed display was...
- Made up of window-size posters and a collection of actual devices.
- Designed so passersby could quickly absorb information and from a distance.
- Installed in an empty mall storefront, lit and locked behind glass (requiring no staffing!)
- Marketed with a newspaper article and through promotion at the Home Builder Association's Home Show.
- Left up throughout the month to reach shoppers, mall walkers, and attendees of two mall community events.
The smaller displays were...
- 3 sets of posters: a table top display, a 2' x 3" set, and a 17"x 11" set.
- Installed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics main entrance and in the Center for Disabilities and Development hallway display cases.
- Rotated among banks, libraries, and faith-based organizations countywide by volunteers with the AARP.
Additional partner contributions:
- The mall contributed the empty store front (a poor economy does have its perks!) spot lighting, and tables. (The mall was approached for this donation by a businessman on the Taskforce.)
- The Home Builder's Association helped with the rental cost of the frames and drapes for the middle display area of devices (in addition to promotion).
- A Plumbing Supply store contributed and set up the products and materials part of the display.
- A DME vendor contributed devices.
More stone soup:
- Gay reports that the Plumbers Supply store started out just loaning IPAT its display stand and equipment, but then became so inspired by the outreach effort that it approached IPAT with the idea of developing and teaching a CEU (Continuing Education Credit) for plumbers on home modifications (CEUs are required for a plumber to stay licensed).
- This year IPAT has approached the newly formed State Fall Prevention Coalition out of the Iowa Department of Public Health to offer the posters' PDF files and project description for statewide use. (Community and county Fall Prevention Projects would create and fund their own posters' printing and projects.)
IPAT's lessons learned
- Collaboration (stone soup) works! AT is part of many other issues. Work with projects that have the same goal. What collaborations are currently underway in your state?
- Try a new approach on a smaller level first. You'll then find sharing or managing your successful project on a larger scale is easier to sell and do.
- New-found partners become good marketers of state AT Act program services and invite you to participate in other events or projects.
IPAT's Fall Prevention poster files are available for use by other programs
Email Jane Gay for the PDF files. Poster PDFs do not list local partners.
Thanks for all your insights Jane!