Contact: Brianne Rogers
Fall prevention addresses leading cause of injury in Gallatin County
BOZEMAN, MT [December 13, 2022] — Patients over the age of 65 years old who experience
ground level falls are a leading cause of injury in Gallatin County. Patient falls often result in a visit
to the emergency room, admission to the hospital, and surgery. Bozeman Health is entering its
second year of offering fall prevention courses at no charge because small, simple changes can
help prevent a fall from happening.
Stepping On is an evidence-based fall prevention course offered for free to older adults in the
community as a component of the Community Benefit work of Bozeman Health. Fall prevention is
a central part of the system’s strategic priorities for health improvement because the 2020
Community Health Needs Assessment identified many ground level falls as preventable. The local
trauma registry outcomes indicate falls account for 33% of injuries, with around 87% of fall
injuries occurring in people over the age of 65.
The Stepping On course meets weekly over seven weeks and is designed to improve confidence,
reduce falls, and reduce fear of falling. The course is focused around incorporating strength and
balance exercises into your daily routine, as well as discussing many other topics like home
hazards, medications, and vision. Bozeman Health offered our first full Stepping On workshop this
fall, with great success.
Muriel Mikkelson, a member of the Bozeman Senior Center, participated in the course and made
some remarkable improvements in her balance over the seven weeks. Her improvements were
visible, as she demonstrated exercises each week. Allison Hugus, RN, leads the injury prevention
programs at Bozeman Health and shared, “Muriel was so impacted by the sessions that when we
sent out the registration for our upcoming workshops, she was eager to let her friends know
about how much the course helped her improve her balance and strength. She encouraged them
to sign up!”
Hugus and colleagues facilitated two Stepping On workshops this past fall at Bozeman Health
Hillcrest Senior Living Aspen Pointe and Bozeman Senior Center. Registration for our 2023 winter
course at the Bozeman Senior Center is opening in January, and there are tentative plans for a fall
course at the Gallatin Valley YMCA. Individuals interested in signing up for the course can contact
the Bozeman Senior Center to learn more or email BHTraumaProgram@bozemanhealth.org.