News and EventsThursday, September 18, 2014
September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month
September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month and Tuesday, Sept. 23 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, with the theme: “Strong Today, Falls Free® Tomorrow.” How much do you know about falls and fall prevention?
Which of these statements is false?
A. Falls are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths among Ohioans age 65 and older.
If you guessed C, you are correct! According to the Ohio Department of Health, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older and they are largely preventable. Ohio’s aging network is committed to preventing falls among older adults who are enrolled in state-funded in-home care programs such as PASSPORT, the Assisted Living Waiver, and the Ohio Home Care Waiver.
This September marks the one year anniversary of a statewide campaign to reduce falls among older adults, STEADY U Ohio. Led by the Ohio Department of Aging and supported by the Department of Health and more than 20 other state government and business partners – including Council on Aging and other Area Agencies on Aging – STEADY U works to ensure that every county, every community and every Ohioan knows how they can prevent falls, one step at a time.
In support of this effort, Council on Aging began conducting falls risk assessments among in-home care clients in November 2013. In-home care clients are generally frail and severely disabled and therefore most at risk for a fall. Clients are assessed at enrollment and then annually thereafter. The assessment helps to identify individuals at risk for falls, provides education on fall prevention, and referrals for further assessment or treatment as necessary.
During the assessment, care managers review a fall prevention fact sheet with clients and talk about things that can be done in the home to prevent a fall and help ease the fear of falling, including: eliminating hazards in the home; the benefits of regular physical activity; the need for annual vision exams; the need to review medications with a physician annually; and the importance of eating well and staying hydrated.
Depending on the outcome of an assessment, care managers may order assistive devices (walkers, bath benches, raised toilet seats), arrange for home modifications (bathroom grab bars, handrails, step repair), and/or make referrals for occupational or physical therapy. Care managers can also consult with clients’ physicians, pharmacists, optometrists and other care providers to help reduce the risk of a fall.
Since November 2013, COA staff have completed more than 4,000 falls risk assessments (at initial enrollment and through routine annual reviews) with clients enrolled in PASSPORT and the Assisted Living Waiver.
How you can prevent falls
Facts about falls and older Ohioans