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In November 2023, Logan Health – Whitefish trauma coordinator Becky Cox applied for and received funding from the LHW Foundation and a Roundup for Safety grant from Flathead Electric for a “Fall Prevention Project.” The project, an educational campaign and safety program, aimed to reduce the number of trauma injuries in the winter, many of which are considered serious. The program specifically targeted those at the highest risk of winter-related falls and injuries – persons aged 65 and older. Funds were used to purchase ice cleats to distribute to residents with a high fall risk in LHW’s communities of Columbia Falls, Eureka and Whitefish.

Falls are the number one cause of trauma cases seen in Logan Health’s emergency departments, both Kalispell and Whitefish. Although one out of three Montanans aged 65 and older fall each year, according to the Montana Trauma System/Department of Public Health and Human Services, falling is not part of aging, and most falls can be prevented by making lifestyle modifications, such as wearing ice cleats when walking on ice.

Because some medications also put a person at greater risk for falls, Becky worked with Wendy Sunde, pharmacy manager at Logan Health Pharmacy – Columbia Falls, to identify patients at higher risk due to being on blood thinners and offer those patients cleats. Additionally, Becky approached Logan Health Primary Care – Eureka and Glacier Medical Associates in Whitefish to distribute at their Coumadin clinics, which are locations specifically for monitoring patients on anticoagulants or blood thinners.

The ice cleats were given to recipients in a Logan Health gift bag, along with an information card designed by the marketing department. The card featured instructions on how to wear the ice cleats on one side, and a fall prevention checklist on the other.

Ice cleats were also distributed to patients at LHW through the emergency department, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and to at-risk patients discharged from the medical surgical unit, as well as its rehabilitation clinics in Columbia Falls and Eureka.

In cooperation with inpatient rehabilitation and community relations, fall prevention education programs were also given at the Whitefish Community Center and the Springs at Whitefish assisted living apartments. Altogether, 50 attendees learned about fall prevention from therapists Kari Marsenich, PT, and Terese Boeder, OT, who delivered the presentation and answered questions. Becky demonstrated how to wear the cleats before delivering them to the audience. One additional fall prevention program is scheduled for the Columbia Falls Senior Center in April.

Once this project is completed, Logan Health – Whitefish will have distributed 500 pairs of ice cleats accompanied by fall prevention educational cards across Logan Health’s northwestern communities.


Fall prevention - presenting to high risk populations
Fall prevention - demonstrating ice cleats