Baltimore City Officials Announce Citywide Falls Prevention Strategy for Older Adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Public health strategy engages communities in finding solutions for falls among older adults

BALTIMORE, MD (April 16, 2018) — Today, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen announced a new Citywide falls prevention strategy aimed at reducing falls-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for older adults in Baltimore City. The strategy will provide leaders, partners, and the general public information on where falls are occurring in Baltimore and where to locate interventions and resources to prevent future falls for all of the City’s older adults. The announcement was made at St. Mary’s Roland View Towers in Baltimore City, an area of the City that has among the highest number of falls in seniors.

The public health falls prevention strategy will focus on three major components: mapping where falls are occurring throughout the City using near real-time hospital data; targeting fall prevention activities in ‘hotspots’—the areas of high fall numbers and rates; and educating the general public that falls are preventable and resources are available.

“I believe that cities are judged by how they support their young people as well as their senior residents,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “As people are living longer than ever before, it’s so important that we do everything we can to give our senior residents the means to age gracefully and in a manner that supports their desire to continue to contribute in meaningful ways. We must make sure that we do everything we can to benefit from all that they have to offer.”

In Baltimore City, nearly 5,000 older adults visited the ED last year due to a fall. Falls-related ED visits in Baltimore City are more than 20% higher than the statewide average, and the city’s rate of falls-related hospitalizations is 55% greater than the state’s. The average cost of a hospitalization due to a fall is $39,000, or $60 million annually in Baltimore City.

"Our Citywide strategy uses innovative, evidence-based methods to go to where people are, by using science to map out where falls are occurring, providing holistic services such as help with medications and housing interventions, and educating residents on how to prevent falls,” said Dr. Leana Wen. “The Baltimore City Health Department is glad to convene partners across all sectors and lead this collective impact strategy to improve health. I thank Mayor Pugh for her steadfast leadership and for being such a tremendous advocate for our seniors.”

The City aims to reduce the rate of falls in Baltimore City by 20% over the next 10 years.

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