Pennsylvania’s Healthy Steps in Motion Falls Prevention Program Receives Evidence-based Approval

​Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Aging’s Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM) falls prevention program received evidence-based approval from the National Council on Aging’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center, in partnership with the Evidence-Based Leadership Council. This approval allows the HSIM program to be included in the U.S. Administration for Community Living pre-approved list for future federal funding. HSIM is a comprehensive, educational, and exercise-focused fall prevention program.

‘The Department of Aging is built on a foundation of prevention and protection, and we are leading the way in providing evidence-based falls prevention programs for our senior population,’ said Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. ‘By providing Healthy Steps in Motion in senior centers throughout the commonwealth, we are able to promote health and wellness while enabling older residents to age in place.’

The goal of HSIM is to prevent falls, promote health, and ensure that older adults can remain independent for as long as possible. Participants engage in varying exercises for those at all fitness levels. Workshops are frequently taken more than once by participants because of the physical and social benefits they receive.

The Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, under the direction of Steven M. Albert, PhD, conducted the evidence-based research study of the HSIM falls prevention program. Following the ACL’s Aging and Disability Evidence-based Programs and Practices process, findings of this study were submitted to the National Council on Aging.

The major finding from the HSIM evidence-based research study was the reduction in falls associated with program participation. Older adults who completed the program workshops saw a significantly lower incidence of falls in comparison to a group participating at the same sites who were similar in fall risk. In multivariate models, HSIM participation reduced falls incidence by approximately 28 percent.

The HSIM falls prevention program is a complement program to Pennsylvania’s Healthy Steps for Older Adults (HSOA) falls prevention program, which received evidence-based approval by the ACL in October 2015. The HSOA program was designed to raise participants’ knowledge and awareness of being at risk for falls, introduce steps they can take to reduce falls–improving overall health and well-being, and provide referrals and resources. In a comparison group study, HSOA participants reduced hospital care costs by approximately $718 to $840.

HSIM and HSOA evidence-based falls prevention programs are offered to older adults at no cost through most of Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging. Licensing and certified training is available nationally for organizations to conduct these programs. HSIM has already been licensed to organizations in Illinois and West Virginia.

For information on licensing, training costs, or additional information about these programs, contact wellness@pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Wrigley, 717-783-6210