The Eastern NC Falls Prevention Coalition (ENCFPC) emerged from the joint efforts of East Carolina University Occupational and Physical Therapy Departments, Pitt Partners for Health Older Adult Subcommittee, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Eastern AHEC, and a variety of community-based agencies that provide senior services. The Coalition has over 20 multi-disciplinary members working toward one common goal – the prevention of falls and fear of falling in community dwelling seniors.
The mission of the ENCFPC is to reduce the number of falls, fall-related injuries, and seriousness of injuries resulting from falls for Eastern North Carolinians and to work collaboratively to provide falls prevention, education, awareness, and interventions. The ENCFPC is divided into two subgroups. One subgroup focuses on education and awareness. Activities target educating and training for health professionals and community providers on falls prevention as well as raising awareness of the need for falls prevention to the general public. The focus of the second subgroup is intervention and collaboration. This groups activities are related to researching, implementing, evaluating, and maintaining evidence based programs for falls prevention as well as facilitating collaboration to maximize all resources available. Objectives for both subgroups include:
Activities of the ENCFPC have received funding support from the Carolina Geriatric Education Center (CGEC) and Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation. CGEC support has enabled the coalition to implement a survey of the standard of practice for area primary care practices regarding fall risk screening and to provide professionally accredited continuing education in six different locations in eastern North Carolina. Additionally, it has helped to prepare health and aging professionals across the state to teach the Matter of Balance program. Matter of Balance is a nationally recognized program that helps seniors reduce fear of falling, increase activity, reduce environmental risk factors, and increase strength and balance to health and aging personnel across the stare.
Support from the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation facilitated the establishment of a Fall Risk Assessment Clinic. The clinic provides screening to at-risk seniors. The expertise of coalition taskforce members was also instrumental in the development of coordinated campaign comprised of a Fall Prevention Expo, billboard signage, newspaper articles, and television interviews to raise community awareness about fall risk factors and preventive care.
The Coalition was founded by Leslie Allison, PhD, PT and Jane Painter, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Dr. Allison helped develop the fall prevention portion of the Erickson Foundation's VIVA! Program, which won a 2003 International Council on Active Aging Award for achieving outstanding results in increasing physical activity levels in older adults. Dr. Painter co-founded the S.P.I.C.E. for Life home safety assessment and modification program, which was designated by the National Council on Aging as one of the 10 Best Practices for Fall Prevention in 2007. Both are on the faculty at ECU in the College of Allied Health Sciences. The Current Chair of the coalition is Diane Skalko, Executive Director of the Pitt County Council on Aging.