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Ontario Falls Prevention Community of Practice


l What is a Community of Practice?
ll Why a Falls Prevention Community of Practice?
lll Who are the sponsoring agencies and what do they offer?
lV  Membership composition
V Successes and challenges
Vl What are the benefits of being a member?
Vll Conclusion
VIII References and resources

-- Submitted by Marguerite Thomas, RN., BScN.Coordinator, Ontario Falls Prevention Community of Practice

l What is a Community of Practice?

Welcome to the Ontario Falls Prevention Community of Practice. The first question generally asked of the core team is “What is a Community of Practice?” The Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN) uses the following definition: “A Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of practitioners, caregivers, policymakers, researchers, healthcare administrators, educators and community leaders who come together to exchange information on a topic related to seniors health.”

“Coming together” can mean many things, such as designing and implementing interactive educational programs, webinar series or knowledge events. These individuals have not only made a commitment to be available to offer support and learn from one another but also to develop new knowledge.

The Ontario Falls Prevention Community of Practice (CoP), led by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), started in the fall of 2010 after successfully applying to the Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN), formerly known as the Seniors Health Research Transfer Network (SHRTN).

All healthcare practitioners, researchers, policy makers and caretakers who are interested in falls prevention in older adults are welcome to join us at

Ontario Falls Prevention Logo  ONF Logo   Seniors Health Knowledge Network logo

II Why a Falls Prevention Community of Practice?

Falls prevention is an important topic for older adults and a hot topic for healthcare providers as well as policy makers and researchers. The Ontario Injury Prevention Research Centre, part of PARACHUTE, our national injury prevention organization, provides the following data:

  • According to the Ontario Injury Data Report released in 2012 (using data from 2007–2009), there were 755 326 emergency room visits related to falls and 72 135 hospital admissions related to falls. In both cases, falls were the most common cause of emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
  • 40% of all nursing home admissions are the result of falls.
  • 9 times more fall injuries occur among those 65+ compared to younger ages.
  • 1 out of 2 falls among older adults results in a minor injury and 5% to 25% in serious injury.
  • 95% of hip fractures are due to a fall and 20% of those 65+ die within a year of the hip fracture.
  • Women are 3 times more likely than men to be hospitalized for a fall-related injury.
  • 40% of all nursing home admissions are the result of falls. Even without injury, a fall can cause a loss in confidence and curtailment of activities.

lll Who are the sponsoring agencies and what do they offer?

The CoP is jointly sponsored by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN). The ONF provides a breadth of services including a part-time coordinator, meeting funds and other in-kind services.TheFoundation, with funding support from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, works with consumers, researchers, practitioners, policy and decision makers to create neurotrauma related research. There is a strong focus on knowledge mobilization to create the necessary changes to reduce and/or eliminate devastating injury and to improve the quality of life for those Ontarians living with a neurotrauma injury.

The SHKN vision is to be the “place to go” in Ontario for the latest knowledge and best practices about older adults’ health and healthcare. SHKN supports its members who may belong to one or more CoP or Community of Interest (CoI). SHKN has several other Communities of Practice related to issues of concern for older adults:

The Network's Communities of Practice:

Please Note: To join any of our communities, first you must become a member (and can do so at When you log in, there will be a link on the top of each community page that says "Join this Community."

The Network supports CoP members by providing:

  • Access to an events coordinator who will partner with the CoP lead to assist with scheduling, events promotions and booking meeting space.
  • Access to an information specialist who will help identify and access information related to the CoP, and deliver education services, if eligible.
  • Access to a knowledge broker who can help capture and facilitate knowledge exchange and information.
  • Access to e-meeting software.
  • Access to a toll-free teleconference line.
  • Interactive engagement activities.
  • Support for research activity and dissemination of research findings.

The CoPs vary from year to year. It is a competitive process and some CoPs reach a natural end of life cycle. Others become a CoI until they transition back to being a CoP. Their content is archived on the site.

lV Membership composition

Core Team Members

The core team consists of between 12 and 18 organizational dedicated representatives in the health, academic and non-profit sectors.  The objectives of the core team are to:

  • Provide a link among the many sectors of the older adults’ health care field. The core team invites the general members to share falls prevention evidence-based information through bi-monthly newsletters, webinars, research tools and conference information.
  • Promote falls prevention best practice strategies in home, hospital, long-term and community care. These strategies include: promoting specific falls-reduction initiatives such as physical activity and risk reduction, and supporting front line workers as they encourage older adults to view falls prevention as a key component of their well-being.
  • Identify champions, content experts and passionate advocates among the membership to engage as speakers/presenters, and leaders who are able to pursue collaborations within and outside their own agencies.
  • Collaborate with other SHKN CoPs and falls prevention organizations to engage in mutually beneficial projects, information sharing, and communication strategies.We are committed to supporting the implementation of the Integrated Falls Prevention Framework at the regional and provincial levels.

CoP Core Team

Back row: Meagan Mabady, Mary Beth Forget, Susan Bonomo, Monica Marquis, Hélène Gagné, Ron Waldie (former member), Robin Hurst, Ross Mayot (former member ), Front row: Rhonda Lovell, Mary Lou Boudreau, Marguerite Thomas, Sandra McKay, Linda Yenssen, Heather McConnell. Absent: Sarah Milne, Terry Kirkpatrick

Core team members, who plan, organize and coordinate the CoP information services (webinars, newsletters etc.) include:

For more information on websites related to our core team members and falls prevention, please visit the links beside the names of the core team members:

General Members

New members are always welcome. Our general membership consists of health care workers in a variety of settings from community to long-term care. The current membership is approximately 675.

V Successes and challenges

The early successes included setting up the infrastructure and pulling together a cohesive team with a variety of expertise and skills. We have documented and made available the organizational requisites, such as terms of reference, work plan, etc.  We have had a number of inquiries and have been able to find answers among the core team and general membership.

The newsletter features include: coming events; have you read; what one program is doing; tech tips; from research to practice; related websites; meet a member; and a general theme. The latest theme is Finding and Evaluating Good Research and Information.

As of November2012, we will have published 11 newsletters and conducted several webinars. While the newsletters are available on the new website, we have had technology challenges with the webinars and these are not archived at the moment. We expect to resume our webinars and archive them in the near future.

Newsletter and webinar topics have included: What is a community of practice; what do a knowledge broker and information specialist do; motivational interviewing; best practices; finding balance; multifactorial assessments; age friendly communities; the provincial integrated framework and toolkit; agencies that help; osteoporosis; osteoarthritis; and the most recent topic on maintaining an effective falls prevention community coalition.

VI What are the benefits of being a member?

By becoming a member of the network, you will have access to like-minded people, the latest research, learning tools, resources and information on seniors’ health care and well-being in Ontario.

Membership is free and offers several benefits:

  • Access to the members only area of the Seniors Health Knowledge Network web site
  • Access to online collaboration tools available through the web site
  • Free library services
  • Access to knowledge dissemination events, education sessions and webinar series
  • Opportunities to broaden your knowledge, share experiences, collaborate and network.

Vll Conclusion

The Ontario Falls Prevention CoP provides an opportunity for any falls prevention practitioner in the province to access information and to link with other practitioners. Information is up to date, relevant and practical. For further information, please check out: and then click on Communities and then on Falls Prevention.  The doordinator's email is

VIII References and resources

Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre (2012). Ontario Injury Data Report. SMARTRISK: Toronto, ON. Available at
Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum. Scott, V., Lockhart, S., Gallagher, E., Smith, D., Asselin, G., Belton, K., et al. (2007). Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum (CFPC). Vancouver: BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit.

Integrated Provincial Falls Prevention Framework and Toolkit includes the framework as well as a summary of programs, tools and resources that can be used by falls prevention administrators across the continuum of care. Available at

The Seniors Health Knowledge Network (SHKN) Communities of Practice: