Event organizers educated local residents, who are members of Quinnipiac's Bobcat Stride walking program which is open to the public, on how they can reduce their risks of falling.
“Fall prevention strategies should begin as early as age 50 to maintain balance and strength and to reduce fall hazards in the home,” said Kimberly Hartmann, professor of occupational therapy and director of Quinnipiac’s Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education. “Interprofessional healthcare providers can all support adults over age 50 with balance screenings, eye and foot exams, balance assessments, home assessments, and strength and balance exercises. Simple safeguards put into daily routines can be the best source of preventing falls and injuries.”
September 18-24 is National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness on preventing and reducing the risk of falls.
During the Quinnipiac program, interprofessional teams of students reviewed safety checks, provided demonstrations and distributed educational materials on preventing falls.
“A fall can be a devastating event, not only for the one who falls, but also for their loved ones,” said Karen Blood, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at Quinnipiac. “For fall prevention to be successful, all healthcare professionals must work together to identify those at risk for falls, provide education on what can be done to prevent falls, and refer those at risk to appropriate clinicians and programs to decrease their risk. Fall prevention needs to be tackled as a team.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Department of Public Health:
- Every 13 seconds, an older American is treated in the emergency department (ED) for a fall. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for Connecticut residents 65 years of age and older (65+) and the fourth-leading cause for residents of all ages.
- One-third of adults in Connecticut age 65+ years old fall each year. The rate of fall-related injuries per 100,000 population of adults 65+ years old is 5,844.
- Approximately 85.2% of all fall-related deaths and about 30% of fall-related ED visits and hospitalizations in Connecticut involved residents 65+ years old between 2008 and 2017.
- Falls caused 2,827 deaths among Connecticut residents 65+ years old from 2008-2016.
- Falls resulted in 313,981 emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient hospitalizations for the state’s residents 65+ years old, during the same time period.
- Fall-related inpatient hospital charges totaled over $1.1 billion for state residents 65+ years old from 2008-2012.
- There were 64,944 ED visits and hospitalizations for fall-related concussions in 65+ year-olds in Connecticut which consisted of 37% of total fall-related concussions between the years 2008 and 2017.
Quinnipiac’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day was free and open to the public.
Highlights from the event:
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