It is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. Join us and local and state partners and coalitions to raise awareness of falls prevention to reduce the risk of falls and help older adults live without the fear of falling.

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The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network, in partnership with the South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition and Sanford Health, hosted a Webinar yesterday highlighting the evidence-based fall prevention programs in South Dakota, including the benefits of these programs and how individuals can get involved. Our panel included three knowledgeable, committed and passionate fall prevention advocates in the state; Nikki Prosch, MS, PAPHS, 200hr RYT; Abigail Gramlick Mueller, APRN, DNP, RD, CCM;
and Karla Cazar, RN MSN, RN BC, GCNS BC, CFCN.

If you missed it, you can access the recording here.

Dawn SeelyWe have been featuring fall prevention advocates and highlighting programs in the Dakotas throughout September. Dawn Seeley, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC is a NICHE Coordinator (Nurses Improving Care of the Health System Elder) at the Sanford USD Medical Center.

Seeley shared, “Throughout my career, I have been working to minimize the risk for falls. Starting as a nurses assistant in 1989, I was instructed to use a gait belt on all patients to protect them and my back. At my first nursing job, I was the performance improvement representative for the unit and we constantly looked for ways to reduce our fall rates.”

“I have seen professionally and personally the impact a fall will have on a person, family and the healthcare system. The impact goes beyond physical impact to the person, but can affect them mentally, socially and financially. By conducting a holistic assessment of the patient and their environment we can minimize the risk. It’s also important to educate people on the importance of being proactive and engaging in physical activity, strength, flexibility, and balance throughout our lives we can also limit the risk of falling.”

If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, or a patient in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. One low-cost and highly effective strategy is simply having a discussion about falls. Access these NCOA tips.

As the national public health campaign recognizing the importance of falls prevention, Falls Prevention Awareness Week encourages states and communities to raise awareness about the impact of falls and the various evidence-based strategies proven to reduce and prevent them.

“My most significant impact is helping establish the South Dakota Fall’s Coalition to bring together a community of practice whose focus is fall prevention education. My ultimate goal is for people to understand the importance of staying active throughout their lives to minimize their risk of inactivity and risk of falling as they age. Fall prevention mitigation strategies should not start when you become at risk for falling, they should be lifelong habits we learn from a young age, concluded Seeley.”

If you would like to participate in the South Dakota Falls Prevention Coalition, email To learn more about the Fall’s Prevention Coalition visit the website at

Fall Prevention Resources in South Dakota: