Online Program

A fall prevention curriculum for community health workers: Bridging the information gap

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:18 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Julie Ann St. John, MA, MPH, DrPH, Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, TAMHSC, San Benito, TX
Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH, Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Doris Howell, MPH, Program on Healthy Aging, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, Workplace Health Group, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Tiffany Shubert, PT, PHD, Center for Aging and Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Cherie Rosemond, PT, PhD, GCS, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Chris Beaudoin, PhD, Department of Communication, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Background: Despite known risk factors for falling and a variety of existing approaches to address fall-related risk , there is an urgent need to identify more effective public health strategies to combat falls and associated injury among older adults. The Policies, Programs, and Partners for Fall Prevention (PPPFP) study incorporates multi-level intervention approaches to address fall prevention using a variety of dissemination research methodologies.

Methods: This presentation emphasizes the training of community health workers (CHWs) to bridge the information gap to older adults regarding falls prevention. Utilizing best practice models for training CHWs, adult learning theory, and message tailoring, the PPPFP study team developed a CHW curriculum (offered online and face-to-face) about fall prevention. CHWs who receive the training use the information to connect at-risk seniors to needed medical services and evidence-based community fall prevention programs.

Results: A survey of Texas Department of State Health Services-certified CEU modules and a national scan of CHW curricula indicated no fall prevention modules for CHWs¬óresulting in the development and implementation of a CHW curriculum about fall prevention utilizing message tailoring. This curriculum is utilized in Texas and North Carolina and includes three modules: importance of fall prevention and risk factors for falls (4 CEUs); enhancing CHWs' skills to address fall-related risk factors (4 CEUs); and health behavior change strategies to prevent falls (2 CEUs).

Conclusion: This CHW-tailored curriculum has vast implications to reach larger proportions of high-risk seniors outside of healthcare settings through message tailoring.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe two best practices utilized to develop the Community Health Workers (CHW) curriculum on falls prevention. Define message tailoring in the context of CHW-delivered information on falls prevention. Discuss ways in which message tailoring with CHWs can be used to sustain the delivery of fall prevention activities to at-risk older adults. Discuss strategies in which message tailoring with CHWs can be replicated to enhance activity reach to larger proportions of at-risk older adults.

Keyword(s): Lay Health Workers, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the CHW training curriculum and have several years experience in public health research. I have also trained, supervised, and worked with CHWs for the past ten years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.