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Falls Prevention program expands

The Sun Country Health Region’s Falls Prevention Committee is releasing a CD showing specially-designed exercises to help home care clients and residents of the long term care facilities avoid falls.

"The exercise program was created by physiotherapists and will help seniors strengthen their body core and increase their balance," says Marnell Cornish, Nurse Manager of Tatagwa View Long Term Care Centre.

In the Sun Country Health Region last year, Marnell supervised the participation of staff and residents in a national collaborative; a Falls Prevention Pilot Program.

"Adopting the program is one of the best ways to help people remain safely mobile and lessen their chances of falling," she says.

Slips and trips that result in falls are big problems particularly 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.

Most falls result in minor injuries, but many do not. One in three results in serious injuries, up to and including a broken hip. This may lead to being admitted into a long term care facility or even death. Many residents are never active again after a serious fall.

The falls prevention pilot project saw a 48 per cent reduction in the total number of falls at Tatagwa View Long Term Care Centre during 2009. The program is being rolled out to all long term care facilities in the Region this year. The exercise CD is part of that program.

A focus on falls prevention has been ongoing already in the Home care program, and eventually will also be adopted into acute care sites.

The Vice President of Primary and Integrated Health for Sun Country Health Region encourages home care clients and residents of long term care facilities, and their families to agree to participate in the falls prevention program.

Assessment, participating in the exercise program aimed to improve balance and gait, and the review and management of medications all assist in reducing falls. .

"The more people who participate, the fewer falls in our facilities and homes, resulting in less injury and less physical suffering for people over-all," says Marga Cugnet.

"We want those living in our communities and facilities to maintain their independence and mobility for as long as they can during their lifetime."


Media: For more information, please call Joanne Helmer, Communications Coordinator, Sun Country Health Region, 842-8353.  Posted March 18.





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