As injury prevention researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers, we are all aware that falls are an important public health issue. Today I wanted to profile a novel approach to preventing falls. Dr Helen Hawley-Hague of the University of Manchester is the Scientific Coordinator of ProFouND, the Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination, and she has shared with me some information regarding this innovative injury prevention approach.
ProFouND is a European Commission-funded initiative dedicated to bring about the dissemination and implementation of best practice in falls prevention across Europe. ProFouND comprises 21 partners from 12 countries, with a further 10 associate members. ProFouND aims to
- influence policy to increase awareness of falls and innovative prevention programmes among health and social care authorities, the commercial sector, NGOs and the general public,
- ultimately increasing the delivery of evidence-based practice in falls prevention and
- therefore reducing the numbers of falls and injurious falls experienced by older adults across Europe.
ProFouND contributes to the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), with the ultimate objective of adding an average of two active healthy life years to the lives of European citizens by 2020. ProFouND’s objective is to embed evidence-based fall prevention programmes for elderly people at risk of falls using novel ICT solutions in at least 10 countries/15 EU regions by the end of 2015, thus to reduce falls incidence in those regions by 2020. The following resources are available to support falls injury prevention:
- ProFouND Falls Prevention App (PFNApp), accessible for registered health care practitioners and available in multiple languages;
- Cascade training using face-to-face and e-learning approaches and available in multiple languages; and
- A free resources library, in addition to information regarding upcoming conferences, and other recent research.
Having seen the ramifications of falls in my own family, with my elderly grandmother fracturing both her pelvis and vertebrae in one fall, this program definitely seems like a step in the right direction!