One in four older adults in the United States will fall this year. Fallsalso are the No. 1 cause of injuries resulting in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among Ohioans 65 and older.
Fortunately, falls can be prevented and reduced. Kendal at Home has launched a protocol aimed at helping its members stay safe from falls.
How the Protocol Works
Kendal at Home’s falls prevention protocol uses guidelines from the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries initiative at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When a member joins Kendal at Home, he or she receives a life plan coordination team who works with the member throughout his or her lifetime. The life plan coordination team helps the member maintain his or her health, and if the need arises, advocates for the member when health care is needed.
The life plan coordination team helps members assess their risk for falling. If a member scores above a certain number, he or she is given a Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, as well as an evaluation of his or her gait, strength and balance. A TUG test tells the life plan coordinator if the member is at high risk for falls. After the test and evaluations are complete, the life plan coordination team shares the results with the member and sends the results to the member’s primary care physician.
In addition to an initial fall assessment, members will receive an annual plan of care, which may include more fall prevention resources and assistance finding classes and community resources to help them with strength and balance.
“Falls are not a normal part of aging, and we want to do everything we can to help older adults and our members prevent and avoid this common cause of injury and death,” said Lynne Giacobbe, executive director of Kendal at Home. “Through this new protocol, it is our hope that our members will become better educated about the risks of falls and will use this information to speak with their healthcare providers and make the necessary changes to prevent and reduce their risk of falling.”
Tips for Fall Prevention
You can prevent falls with a few simple modifications. The CDC recommends doing the following to stay safe:
- Talk with your doctor. Discuss your risk of falling, and whether your medications or supplements could contribute to a fall.
- Try strength and balance exercises: Tai chi and yoga are good exercises that help strengthen your legs and improve your balance.
- Get your eyes checked: Have an eye exam at least once a year and make sure to update your eyeglasses or contacts if needed.
- Make a safer home: Remove all trip hazards like electrical cords, piles of items and loose rugs. Make sure you have railings on both sides of stairs. Add extra light to your home by either adding more lamps or using brighter light bulbs.
If you have questions about what you can do to stay safe and prevent falls, talk to your doctor or care coordinator.