Integrating Fall Prevention Strategies into EMS Services to Reduce Falls and Associated Healthcare Costs for Older Adults




0009-0005-3267-5736 (Camp, Kathlene)

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Dove Press Ltd.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to detail the implementation of fall prevention initiatives through emergency medical services (EMS) and associated outcomes. METHODS: Paramedics with MedStar Mobile Healthcare utilized the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) fall prevention model to screen and direct intervention through 9-1-1 emergency response, High Utilization Group (HUG), and 30-day Hospital Readmission Avoidance (HRA) programs. Outcomes from 9-1-1 calls measured the number of older adults screened for falls and identified risk factors. The HUG and HRA programs measured change in quality of life with EuroQol-5D, referral service utilization, falls, emergent healthcare utilization, and hospital readmission data. Analysis included costs associated with reduced healthcare usage. RESULTS: Emergency paramedics provided fall risk screening for 50.5% (n=45,090) of adults aged 65 and older and 59.3% were at risk of falls, with 48.1% taking medications known to increase the risk of falls. Services provided through the HUG and HRA programs, along with additional needed referral services, resulted in a 37.2% reduction in fall-related 9-1-1 calls and a 29.5% increase in overall health status related to quality of life. Analysis of the HUG program revealed potential savings of over $1 million with a per-patient enrolled savings of $19,053. The HRA program demonstrated a 16.4% hospital readmission rate, in comparison to a regional average of 30.2%, and a cost-savings of $4.95 million or $15,618 per enrolled patient. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the STEADI model into EMS services provides an effective and cost-saving model for addressing fall prevention for older adults, provides meaningful and impactful improvement for older adults, and could serve as a model for other EMS programs. This study explored the feasibility and impact of implementing an evidence-based fall prevention model into emergency medical services for older adults. The outcomes resulted in an efficient and effective manner to screen older adults for falls during emergency response services and connect high-risk older adults with in-home follow-up care from community paramedics. In addition, fall prevention services were provided for vulnerable adults following a recent discharge from hospital care. These initiatives to address fall prevention resulted in a majority of older adults receiving preventive fall risk screening during emergency response calls, significant changes in quality of life measures for adults with multiple comorbidities and fall risk, and significant potential cost savings in reduced healthcare services.



Camp, K., Murphy, S., & Pate, B. (2024). Integrating Fall Prevention Strategies into EMS Services to Reduce Falls and Associated Healthcare Costs for Older Adults. Clinical interventions in aging, 19, 561-569.


© 2024 Camp et al.


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