Alliance of EU stakeholder organisations supporting ProFouND
The European Stakeholders Alliance for Active Ageing through Falls Prevention (ESA-on-Falls) met for the second time this year in Glasgow, Thursday 20 November, 2014. This meeting was held the day after the European Seminar on Falls Prevention, organised by ProFouND in collaboration with EuroSafe and the EUPHA-Injury Section.
ESA-on-Falls consists of EU-level umbrella organisations of national associations for professionals that serve a key role in falls awareness and prevention such as family doctors; geriatricians; taumatologists; orthopaedics; care and rehab managers; community nurses; physio- and ergo-therapists; and informal care givers. Also mutual benefit insures joined the initiative recently.
The overall goal of the Alliance is to create a united front of EU-level stakeholder organisations to raise awareness among European institutions and national policy makers as to the impact of the rising epidemic of fall injuries in an ageing Europe, the need to move available evidence into practice and to ensure sustainable programmes for actions at EU-, national and local level.
The meeting on 20 November was attended by 18 participants, including the ProFouND team and twelve participants representing EU-level umbrella organisations. The ProFouND-team presented the main products and services that the ProFouND project is in process of delivering soon.
In the discussions that followed, participants welcomed the tools that will become available by the end of this year, in particular the ProFouND Falls Prevention Application (PFPApp). The tool will be of great help to non-geriatric professionals in particular who have little experience in fall risk assessment and prevention. In addition to this, great interest was expressed in the cascade model training programme that will create a cadre of accredited exercise trainers across Europe to implement exercise regimens that have been proven to reduce falls amongst older people.
The Alliance partners each gave a brief overview of actions initiated since the first meeting in Brussels, in February this year, in particular related to:
– Discussions on the issue they initiated with own board members;
– Actions undertaken in response to Campaign package 2014;
– Possible initiatives to establish a coordination group on falls prevention within the umbrella organisation;
– Awareness of national or regional activities of members and resource identification; and
– Initiatives to identify opportunities for enhancing fall awareness in existing training curricula.
Almost all partners reported to have undertaken one or more of the above listed actions within their respective associations since the group had it first meeting in February this year. All expressed a strong interest in the initiative and were taking the issue as a priority theme for one of the existing working groups or establishing a newly created coordination group for developing the falls prevention issue within their association. Additional initiatives taken by a number of stakeholder organisations over the past months include: the dissemination of information provided by ProFouND through the associations’ web sites; newsletters; translations of guidance documents for the national members; pre-conference seminars and conference workshops being organised on the falls prevention issue in conjunction with upcoming conference events.
In order to consolidate and expand these activities, it was proposed to formalise the joint vision and commitment of the Alliance partners into a Declaration on behalf of the European Stakeholders Alliance for Active Ageing through Falls Prevention. The purpose of such a Declaration would be to express a joint commitment to create a breakthrough in attitudes of resignation among professionals and their uncertainties as for what really works in preventing falls. Therefore the signatories of the Declaration would like to express their willingness to increase the visibility of the impact of fall injuries among senior citizens; to advocate for long term EU, national, regional and local level facilitated community programmes for promoting active lifestyles and fall prevention among senior citizens; to support national member organisations in integrating appropriate education and training modules within existing curricula for professional development and vocational training; and to expand and further develop Fall Awareness Campaigns at national and European level.
All Alliance partners endorsed this initiative and will seek formal endorsement of the draft Declaration as discussed and amended during the meeting by their Executive Boards. Confirmation of endorsement by a formal letter from these Boards are expected to be sent in before the end of February. The launch of the declaration is expected to take place at the EU-Falls Festival, 24-25 March 2015.
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