Reframing Fall Prevention and Risk Management as a Chronic Condition Through the Lens of the Expanded Chronic Care Model: Will Integrating Clinical Care and Public Health Improve Outcomes?

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The Gerontologist


oregon; portland


Falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among adults aged 65 years and older (older adults) and are increasingly recognized as a chronic condition. Yet, fall-related care is infrequently provided in a chronic care context despite fall-related death rates increasing by 41% between 2012 and 2021. One of the many challenges to addressing falls is the absence of fall-focused chronic disease management programs, which improve outcomes of other chronic conditions, like diabetes. Policies, information systems, and clinical-community connections help form the backbone of chronic disease management programs, yet these elements are often missing in fall prevention. Reframing fall prevention through the Expanded Chronic Care Model (ECCM) guided by implementation science to simultaneously support the uptake of evidence-based practices could help improve the care of older adults at risk for falling. The ECCM includes seven components: (1) self-management/develop personal skills, (2) decision support, (3) delivery system design/re-orient health services, (4) information systems, (5) build healthy public policy, (6) create supportive environments, and (7) strengthen community action. Applying the ECCM to falls-related care by integrating health care delivery system changes, community resources, and public policies to support patient-centered engagement for self-management offers the potential to prevent falls more effectively among older adults.




Population Health