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Provincial Falls Prevention Framework (July 2006) a falls-free Manitoba Vision

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Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy



July 2006

Provincial Falls Prevention Framework

(July 2006)

A falls-free Manitoba



To create a safe and injury-free Manitoba by engaging Manitobans in making falls prevention a priority.



Approach and Principles

Strategic Pillars

Strategic Pillars

Injury Priority




  • To reduce the risk of falls

  • To reduce societal costs of falls

  • To change attitudes and behaviours by creating a culture of safety

Key Settings


School / daycares



Long-term care/ hospital

Target population



Older adults


Sports participants

Service providers i.e. home care



  • Most falls are predictable and preventable

  • Comprehensive population health approach

  • Multi-sectoral partnerships and shared responsibility

  • Culturally appropriate

  • Evidence-based

  • Life course perspective

  • Leadership & Policy Development

  • Surveillance, Research & Evaluation

  • Sustainability

  • Community Capacity (includes programming, awareness, education & training)
  • Activities have been identified in each of the Strategic Pillar areas.

  • Establish a falls prevention coalition.

  • Conduct a gap analysis of existing programming for identified target populations.

  • Develop awareness initiatives.

  • Enhance a falls surveillance system.

  • Build on best practice programs including activity programs, risk assessment programs and training. Share knowledge across sectors and jurisdictions.

Reduce falls hospitalization and deaths by 10% by 2010.

Injury resulting from falls

  • Children and youth

  • Older adults


Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Process 1

The Problem 2

Falls in Children 3

Falls in Older Adults 3

The Strategy 5

Target 6

Objectives, Activities and Performance Measures 7

Participating Organizations 10

Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy

(Final July 2006)


During Manitoba Healthy Living’s process to establish a provincial injury prevention strategy, unintentional fall related injury was identified as a prevention priority. Injury specific frameworks have been developed to provide detail and direction for leading causes of injury. The intent of the Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy and Framework is to provide direction and opportunities for cooperation and collaboration regarding prevention and reduction of fall-related hospitalization and deaths in Manitoba.


This strategy has been developed by consensus of over 40 individuals representing 26 organizations, health authorities and government departments interested in preventing fall-related injury. Staff from Manitoba Healthy Living and the Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat acted as a steering committee, while IMPACT the injury prevention center of Children’s Hospital carried out the secretariat functions.

  • The steering committee determined the process and identified pertinent individuals / organization for involvement in the strategy development.

  • A draft falls prevention framework was prepared using the Provincial Injury Prevention Framework as a model.

  • A consultation meeting was held on February 22, 2006. The participants provided feedback on the draft framework as well as identified possible goals, objectives, and activities of the strategy. The report “Preventing Falls and Fall-related Injuries in Manitoba: A Review of Best Practices was used to guide this process.

  • Based on the results of the consultation meeting, IMPACT together with Manitoba Government wrote the first draft of the Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy.

  • The first draft was then sent to the participants of the consultation as well as the Regional Health Authority Injury Deliverable Network for feedback.

  • The final version was then prepared and sent to consultation participants.

The Problem

The following section highlights excerpts from the report “Preventing Falls and Fall-related Injuries in Manitoba: A Review of Best Practices” (IMPACT, September 2005). This report is considered a companion document of this strategy; therefore please refer to it for a full description of the fall problem, best practices in prevention, recommendations for action, and all references. The report can be found at

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for all Manitobans, and the third leading cause of injury death. When only unintentional injuries are included, falls are the second leading cause of injury death for Manitoba. When injuries are separated by age group, falls are the leading cause of hospitalization for children 0-14 years of age and all adults over 34 years of age. Between 1992 and 1999 there were 659 deaths due to falls in Manitoba and 51,446 fall-related hospitalizations (1992-2001).

  • Each year in Manitoba approximately 82 fall-related deaths occur and approximately 5,145 individuals are admitted to hospital due to a fall.

  • Compared with other injury types, falls consume the most hospital days with an average of 19.8 per patient. In 2001, falls accounted for 97,285 hospital days. Evidently, fall prevention efforts have the capacity to greatly impact the consumption of hospital bed-days, thereby decreasing the significant burden that they place on Manitoba’s health care services.

  • Hospitalization rates for non-fatal falls were high for both older adults and children. In children, the highest rate was found for 5-9 year olds at 217.2 per 100,000, with the next highest rate for 10-14 year olds (182.5 per 100,000). Playground equipment is often involved in child-related falls.

  • Falls are the second leading cause of head injury in Canadian children with transport injuries as the leading cause (Health Canada, 1997).

  • Between 1999 and 2002, the total cost of fall injury for Manitoba was $335 million per year with $256 million spent on direct costs. For those age 65 and over, the annual direct treatment costs related to falls was estimated at $164 million.

Falls among children and older adults are addressed separately, given that different risk and protective factors and different interventions are applicable to each age group.

Falls in Children
Risk Factors


  • Fall-related injuries among children tend to be less severe with increasing age, with the highest rates of hospitalization and death found in infants 0-12 months of age. Children 5 14 years of age are more likely to have fractures and dislocations.


  • Male children are twice as likely to be injured in a fall, compared with females. Canadian injury data reflect that males account for 62% of deaths, 77% of hospitalizations, and 56% of Emergency Department visits from falls among children.

First Nations

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for Manitoba’s First Nations populations. Fall hospitalization rates per 100,000 are 1.3X higher for First Nations Manitobans relative to non-First Nations Manitobans.

  • First Nations male infants are at greatest risk of hospitalization for fall injuries (582.1 per 100,000) relative to children of other ages, females, and non-First Nations children.


  • Fall mechanisms change, as the child gets older. Infants tend to fall from furniture (e.g. beds, change tables) and children’s products (e.g. high chairs); toddlers 1-4 years of age fall more often from stairs, windows and furniture; while older children (5-9 years of age) fall more from play equipment, and youth 10-14 years of age fall most frequently during sports activities.

  • Children are falling more from trampolines with the increased popularity of backyard models. These injuries tend to occur most to 5-14 year-olds and can be very serious (e.g. head or cervical spine injuries). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a ban on home trampolines and trampoline use in schools for physical education classes or recreation.

Falls in Older Adults

Risk Factors


  • 86% of fall deaths and 64% of fall-related hospitalizations in Manitoba were to older adults 65+ years of age. As a result, fewer potential years of life are lost due to falls (5.0 years per person) relative to other injury types (e.g. 35.3 for motor vehicle traffic).


  • Female older adults have higher rates of death and hospitalization due to falls

First Nations

  • In Manitoba, First Nations populations are at increased fall risk. Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for this population with higher fall hospitalization rates for First Nations Manitobans relative to non-First Nations Manitobans (596.9 vs. 449.6 per 100,000, respectively).1 First Nations women over 85 years of age were at highest risk of hospitalization for fall injuries (9.343 per 100,000) relative to other ages, males, and non First Nations women.


  • There are many risk factors for falls among older adults as shown in the table below. Further information of each type can be found in “Preventing Falls and Fall-related Injuries in Manitoba: A Review of Best Practices” (IMPACT, September 2005).

Table 1



Advanced age (80+)

Alcohol use

Chronic diseases

Fear of falling

Cognitive impairments

Carry a handbag

Gender (Female)

Inadequate diet/exercise

Muscle weakness

Inappropriate footwear

Poor physical fitness


Physical disability

Medication use

Sensory deficits

Past history of falls

Balance Impairments

Risk-taking behaviours



Community hazards

Inadequate housing

Home hazards

Inadequate access to services

Institutional hazards

Income inadequacy

Lack of support networks

Lower educational levels

Social Isolation

  • After examining the wide range of risk factors, it is important to assess which risk factors can be changed. When implementing individual-level interventions, behavioral risk factors are very relevant (e.g. handbags, inadequate exercise) as well as many of the physical risk factors (e.g. muscle weakness, balance impairment etc.)

  • Multiple risk factors place older adults at a significantly increased risk of falling. Most notably, having a fall in the past year, falling indoors, and an inability to get up following a fall are predictive of future falls.

The Strategy

The framework for the falls strategy has been adapted from the Provincial Injury Prevention Framework and Strategy. It reflects the views of the individuals, organizations, and government departments that participated in the consultation process (see appendix A for participating organizations).


A falls-free Manitoba


To create a safe and injury-free Manitoba by engaging Manitobans in making fall prevention a priority


  • To reduce the risk of falls

  • To reduce societal costs of falls

  • To change attitudes and behaviours by creating a culture of safety

Approach and Principles

The strategy should incorporate the following values as expressed during the consultation:

  • Most falls are predictable and preventable

  • Comprehensive population health approach

A comprehensive population health approach emphasizes positive health activities and illness/injury prevention measures. Population health is a holistic approach to health that aims to improve the health of the entire population and to reduce health inequities among populations. The population health approach includes the recognition that many factors known as determinants of health influence individual health and well-being. The determinants of health include the following.

    • Income and social status

    • Social support networks

    • Education and literacy levels

    • Employment / working conditions

    • Social environment

    • Physical environment

    • Personal health practices and coping skills

    • Healthy child development

    • Biological and genetic development

    • Health services

    • Gender

    • Culture

    • Age

In short, the population health approach attempts to positively influence conditions that enable people to make healthy choices, as well as offering services that promote and maintain health.

Using the life course perspective, we understand that some risk factors for falls accumulate over time. Accordingly, some interventions, e.g. bone health education, may be more appropriate at younger ages, even though the risk of falling is not as great for this age group.

Other guiding principles include:

  • Multi-sectoral partnerships and shared responsibility

  • Culturally appropriate

  • Evidence-based

  • Life course perspective

Strategic Pillars

  • Leadership and policy development

  • Surveillance, research and evaluation

  • Capacity Building (includes programming, awareness, education and training)

  • Sustainability


To reduce fall related injury hospitalization and deaths in Manitoba by 10% by 2010 by showing reductions in the following two target populations

  • Children and youth

  • Older adults

Baseline Measure

(Based on falls injury data in “Injures in Manitoba: A 10-year review”)

Reduction Target by 2010 (-10%)

Death crude rate

(100,000 people) for 1992-99

Age 65-74 = 11.6

Age75-84 = 39.6

Age 85+ = 228.7

Death crude rate

(100,000 people)

Age 65-74 = 10.5

Age75-84 = 35.7

Age 85+ = 205.9

Hospitalization crude rate

(100,000 people) for 1992-2001

Child /youth (ages 0-14) = 184.8

Age 65-74 = 850

Age75-84 = 2,546

Age 85+ = 6,768

Hospitalization crude rate

(100,000 people)

Child /youth (ages 0-14) = 166.4

Age 65-74 = 765

Age75-84 = 2,292

Age 85+ = 6,092

Objectives, Activities and Performance Measures

Strategic Pillar – Leadership and Policy Development



Performance Measures

a) By July 2006, release the Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy and Framework.

  • Share strategy with relevant stakeholders (i.e. governments / departments, RHAs, organizations that work with children and youth, older adults etc.)

  • Place on MB Healthy Living website

  • Append to Manitoba Injury Prevention Strategy and Framework

  • Strategy released.

b) By December 2006, a provincial falls prevention coalition will be established.

  • Determine membership (multi-disciplinary)

  • Establish terms of reference including scope, tasks and administrative support

  • Yearly tasks should be to review past years accomplishments and set activities for coming year i.e. identify and promote new policies and approaches

  • Monitor progress / update falls prevention strategy

  • MB Healthy Living / MB Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat to determine their role and level of support for coalition i.e. dedicated staff person

  • Coalition established

  • Meeting schedule developed

  • Task identified

c) By December 2006, MB Healthy Living will have reviewed the Regional Health Authorities’ falls prevention plans.

  • Assess common issues / gaps to provincial falls strategy

  • Assess links / adherence to best practice papers

  • Communication with RHAs regarding gaps and opportunities to explore options

  • Review completed

  • Gaps and opportunities identified

d) By March 2008, the coalition will develop a plan to promote healthy public policy as it pertains to falls prevention.

Policy issues encompass governments, facilities, RHAs, NGOs and corporations.

  • Set up a policy-to-practice ad-hoc committee

  • Prioritize policy issues e.g. need for standardized /computerized tracking system medication /or prescription for physical activity / or standardized age falls risk assessment / need for vision screening /child & youth issues as well

  • Develop policy plan

  • Implement plan

e) By March 2008, the coalition will have conducted a preliminary review / evaluation of the Manitoba Falls Prevention Strategy and Framework

  • Establish activity tracking system

  • Assign / contract task to outside group

  • Share results

  • Tracking system in place

  • Review / Evaluation complete

  • Results shared

Strategic Pillar – Surveillance, research and evaluation



Performance Measures

a) By March 2008, a list of research priorities will be established.

  • Hold a meeting of researchers and interested organizations to identify priority research topics / issues

  • Identify possible ways of implementing research priorities

  • Promote program evaluations (and sharing of results)

  • Research priorities identified

  • Number of research projects

  • Mobilization of knowledge

c) By March 2008, a system will be established to review, translate, distribute and store research pertaining to falls prevention.

  • Establish procedure for reviewing new research

  • Establish procedure for translating new research

  • Establish procedure for the distribution of translated research

  • Promote the existence of a centralized “library” specializing in falls prevention research

  • System in place and promoted

b) By March 2009, a compressive (provincial) falls surveillance system will be established (emergency departments / long-term care / home care)

  • Identify lead organizations

  • Pilot emergency data collection system

  • Pilot long-term care data collection system

  • Establish procedure for analyzing and distribution of information

  • Procedures in place

d) By March 2010 Falls Prevention Strategy and Framework Evaluation completed

  • Evaluation committee established

  • Data criteria identified

  • Contractor hired

  • Report completed

Strategic Pillar – Capacity Building (awareness, education and training)



Performance Measures

a) By March 2007, the coalition will have a completed gap analysis of programs, resources and target groups.

  • Complete inventory of falls prevention programs in key settings

  • Compare programs with availability in target population

  • Compare available resources in various key settings (home checklists, information sheets etc with availability in target population

  • Identify gaps

  • Identify program and resource priorities for key settings

  • Share results

  • Gap analysis complete

  • Results available and shared

b) By March 2007, falls prevention training will be made available (multi-levels).

  • Based on the programming needs training courses will be developed/ adapted (Multi-level - community volunteers, fitness leaders, medical professionals etc.)

  • Training available.

c) By March 2007, a communication / information sharing / plan will have been developed to share information with professionals/service providers.

  • Develop communication plan

  • Identify best vehicle (or multiple) for the distribution of information and resources to those interested in falls prevention interventions (website, listserv, newsletter etc.)

  • Develop distribution list

  • Develop website

  • Plan developed and implemented

d) By March 2007, the coalition will have a plan to promote and enhance programming and resource priorities.

  • Form group to develop plan

  • Share results of gap analysis

  • Identify appropriate programs to promote/enhance and develop implementation options

  • Identify appropriate resources to promote/adapt and develop options for availability/distribution

  • Establish criteria for multi-level fall risk assessment tools

  • Monitor program delivery progress as it relates to gap / targets

  • Group established

  • Results shared

  • Plan in place

  • Progress being monitored

e) By March 2008, a targeted falls prevention awareness campaign will be launched.

  • Establish committee

  • Determine target group(s)

  • Plan campaign with media consultant (consider BC’s campaign / focus on the positive not scare tactics)

  • Seek funding

  • Establish tracking system / for evaluation

  • Committee established

  • Funding level achieved

  • Campaign plan launched

  • Evaluation plan being followed

f) By March 2008, standardized risk assessment tools will be available (for different levels age specific / self/ acute care).

  • Develop / adapt assessment tools (multi – levels)

  • Pilot assessment tools

  • Provide appropriate training

  • Promote the use of tools

  • Assessment tools have been developed

  • Training provided

Strategic Pillar - Sustainability



Performance Measures

a) By March 2007, the coalition will identify needs and opportunities to increase funding / resources for fall prevention programs.

  • Identify program funding priorities

  • Identify appropriate funding routes/partners to address identified needs for falls prevention activities (universities, governments, health authorities etc.)

  • Entrench falls prevention activity into daily job functions

  • Priorities identified

  • Funding needs addressed.

  • Funding used for priorities identified in strategy

Participating Organizations

  • Age & Opportunity Inc.

  • Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA)

  • Assiniboine Regional Health Authority

  • Assiniboine Regional Health Authority

  • Brandon & Area Safe Community Coalition

  • Brandon Regional Health Authority

  • Canadian Red Cross

  • Creative Retirement

  • IMPACT, the injury prevention centre of Children’s Hospital

  • Interlake Regional Health Authority

  • Manitoba Aboriginal & Northern Affairs

  • Manitoba Association of School Trustees (MAST)

  • Manitoba Conservation/Manitoba Water Stewardship

  • Manitoba Education

  • Manitoba Health

  • Manitoba Healthy Living

  • Manitoba Safety Council

  • Manitoba Seniors & Healthy Aging Secretariat

  • Misericordia Health Centre

  • NOR-MAN Regional Health Authority

  • Parkland Regional Health Authority

  • Osteoporosis Canada

  • School Medical Rehabilitation

  • South Eastman Health

  • South Winnipeg Seniors Resource Council

  • Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

  • Youville Clinic

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