PORTLAND, ME., March 2014 – A program headquartered locally at MaineHealth in Portland has received national recognition in a report to Congress by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In a national Evaluation of Community-based Wellness and Prevention Programs, A Matter of Balance (MOB) was cited as one of four programs disseminated nationally that has improved health outcomes and driven down healthcare costs. Evidence shows that A Matter of Balance has reduced medical costs by nearly $1,000 a year for each participant. Nationally, the savings may translate to an estimated $40 million based on over 40,000 participants who have completed the program. The savings are primarily from a decrease in unplanned hospital admissions.
Falls in older adults are a serious problem. Each year in Maine, one of every three adults age 65 or older falls, and the average cost of a fall is estimated to be $16,000. A Matter of Balance helps seniors learn how to prevent falls while increasing activity levels. Strategies and skills relating to strength and exercise are included. In Maine, A Matter of Balance is offered through community partners such as the Area Agencies on Aging, and at various locations including dining centers, YMCA’s, retirement facilities, churches and other community spaces.
A Matter of Balance was originally developed at Boston University as a clinical program led by nurses and therapists. It was adopted in southern Maine in 1999. The program evolved and expanded in October 2003 using a grant awarded by the Administration on Aging to develop the program into a ‘lay leader’ model using trained volunteers to lead the classes. MaineHealth’s Partnership for Healthy Aging led the effort, in collaboration with the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, Maine Medical Center’s Division of Geriatrics, and the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work. The model using trained volunteer instructors has made the program accessible to more seniors throughout Maine and across the country.
A Matter of Balance is an innovative national model for addressing the fear of falling and promoting physical activity for balance, strength and endurance. The program is now offered in 38 states through an extensive network of over 900 master trainers. Nationally, an estimated 40,000 older adults have participated in the program. Participants have demonstrated significant improvements after completing A Matter of Balance in their level of falls management, falls control, level of exercise and social limitations with regard to concern about falling. Participants have reported the following:
- 97%percent are more comfortable talking about their fear of falling.
- 97% percent feel comfortable increasing activity.
- 99% percent plan to continue exercising.
A Matter of Balance is now recognized by the U.S. Administration on Aging as an Evidence Based Disease and Disability Prevention Program. For a complete listing of class locations, visit www.mainehealth.org/mob or call 207-661-7120 or the local Area Agency on Aging.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and healthcare organizations working together to make their communities the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, LincolnHealth, Maine Mental Health Partners, Memorial Hospital, Pen Bay Healthcare, Southern Maine Health Care, Waldo County Healthcare, Western Maine Health, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Health, Mid Coast Health Services, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland and St. Mary's Health System.