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Falls reduction pilot was successful

A pilot project to reduce falls among the residents of long term care centres at the Tatagwa View Long Term Care Centre in Weyburn was so successful it will be rolled out to all other long term care centres in Sun Country Health Region.

"The falls prevention pilot project saw a 48 per cent reduction in the number of falls at Tatagwa View over the past year," says Marga Cugnet, Vice President of Primary and Integrated Health.

"That level of success will result in fewer falls and less severe falls, which means less physical suffering for people over-all," she says.

"That's always a good thing. We want people to maintain their independence and mobility for as long as they can during their lifetime."

"The secondary benefit is that fewer residents of long term care centres will be hospitalized in our region in the future as a result of falls and that will help reduce the health care cost associated with falls," she says.

Mrs. Cugnet says staff in other long term care centres in SCHR over the next year will be shown the techniques and tools identified through the pilot project to help them reduce falls in their facilities as well.

The nurse manager at Tatagwa View Long Term Care Centre who supervised the centre's pilot project says seniors tell her that falls take away their quality of life.

"Sometimes they get sick in the hospital after a fall, or they go home debilitated if they are able to go back home at all," says Marnell Cornish. "I've had people tell me they wish they had died that day."

Slips and trips that result in falls are big problems for seniors, whether they live in a long term care centre or at home.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says falls are the cause of 54.4 per cent of all hospitalization for injuries. For people 65 years and older, falls account for 84.8 per cent of all injury admissions to acute care hospitals. In long term care centres, 40 per cent of admissions are the result of a fall and half of all elderly residents in long term care facilities fall every year.

The falls can be minor but often are not. One in three results in serious injuries. Many residents are never active again after a serious fall.

Tatagwa View joined a national collaborative started by the Safer Health Care Now! Campaign because staff was convinced something needed to be done to reduce to reduce the number and severity of falls among the residents.

Media: For more information, please call Joanne Helmer, Communications Coordinator, Sun Country Health Region, 842-8353. Released October 1, 2009.

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