Project Profile: NH Falls Prevention Network Hub

“Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®” class at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Photo by Lora Gerand.

Background Data
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PROJECT: NH Falls Prevention Network Hub

GOALS: (1) Establish FPN-Hub and workflows to coordinate Falls Prevention efforts across NH.

(2) Enroll at least 600 participants in NH evidence-based community programs (Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® and Matter of Balance) falls prevention programs in each year of the grant (3 years).

(3) Collaborate with health care and insurance organizations to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of enrolling members, at risk for falls, in falls prevention programs in NH.

TEAM: Ellen Flaherty (PI), Dawna Pidgeon (Lead Trainer, Implementation Specialist), Lora Gerard (Project Manager), Timothy Hesselton (Project Coordinator), Renee Pepin (Implementation Specialist)

FUNDING:  2017 Administration for Community Living Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Program Grant (awarded to Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging)


New Hampshire is one of the oldest states, with population projections showing that we will have the second largest population of persons 85 and older by 2030. Falls are a significant cause of serious injury and death, particularly among older adults (60 and older) and in individuals with conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease. Evidence-based programs delivered to participants in their communities are an effective method to prevent falls, but there have not been enough of these programs available to meet the significant need. The ACL Falls Prevention Program 2015-2017 funding allowed us to work with partners and sites throughout New Hampshire to establish many more sites delivering two evidence-based programs, A Matter of Balance and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®. We were also able to increase public awareness of this issue and provide convenient resources for Primary Care, the Parkinson’s Disease Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Emergency Services. We also developed a ‘Balance Day’ model for public education, falls risk screening, and coaching participants into programs that meet their needs. We had 675 participants in programs, screened 327 individuals, and increased the available programs from 21 to 36. We observed several best practices across our partner sites, such as using Balance Days to recruit participants, having more than one person trained to instruct the programs at a site, and focusing on coaching individuals early in the programs to increase completion rates. We provided sites with technical assistance, including focusing on these sustainability strategies, and opportunities for peer learning and support. This project significantly enhanced the availability of these essential programs for our high-need service area.

Now I am me, again.

Sandy, a participant in TJQMBB and MOB through our partner, Memorial Hospital. Hear the rest of Sandy’s story.

Diane Sherman. Photo by Mark Washburn.

‘Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®’ (TJQMBB) has been embraced by the Parkinson’s community in New Hampshire. Participants report a sense of physical ‘centering’ and improved balance/stability, and have eagerly recruited others from their Parkinson’s disease support groups to join. They appreciate that TJQMBB is modified version of tai chi that specifically targets their needs. Our movement disorders specialists enthusiastically refer patients to the program, and are relieved as more sites become available to accommodate patients close to their homes.

Diane L. Sherman, PhD, Coordinator, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Resource Center

Background Data

TJQMMB – Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® program
MOB – A Matter of Balance program

More Information / Contact

Dawna Pidgeon- Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging