September 22nd, 2013, the first day of fall, also marks the 6th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging. Falls are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits for older adults, the major cause of hip fractures and responsible for more than half of fatal head injuries. Numerous states and countries worldwide are now coming together to address this serious and often overlooked health issue.
The goal of this year's theme, Preventing Falls—One Step at a Time, is to bring together professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to raise awareness and prevent falls in the older adult population. Forty-three states participated in Falls Prevention Awareness Day last year, joining more than 70 national organizations, including the American Occupational Therapy Association, other professional associations, and federal agencies that comprise the Falls Free© Initiative. The hope is for that number to grow this year and stop the rise in these serious accidents.
According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. These falls can be moderate to severe in nature, yet less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it. When a fall occurs, most people assume the contributing factor is an unsafe home environment; however, what most people don’t know is that there are many other risk factors to consider.
“After a fall occurs, many people will begin taking measures to ensure that the safety of their aging loved one is never compromised—home modification is traditionally the first step,” said Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, Senior Vice President of Quality & Clinical Operations for BrightStar Care. “What folks may not realize is there are many other factors that come into play, in addition to an unsafe home environment, that may contribute to falls. It is vital to identify these issues and address them appropriately.”
According to Maguire, these five fall risk factors should be addressed when working to identify the cause of a fall and prevent future falls:
“At BrightStar Care, decreasing the risk of falls and educating families about fall risk is a core competency that we pride ourselves in providing,” added Maguire. “We relentlessly track falls that occur both when we are and are not present and we perform an in-depth analysis to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.”
About BrightStar. Based in Chicago, BrightStar Care is a national franchise with more than 250 locations that provide full-service staffing of medical and non-medical homecare to private clients from children to older adults within their homes, as well as supplemental staffing to healthcare organizations and corporate clients. As the only national private duty home care company to require Joint Commission accreditation at each location, BrightStar locations nationwide are committed to meeting National Patient Safety Goals around fall prevention. BrightStar Care takes a unique approach to decreasing fall risk by pairing their clinical expertise with key client education resources to help and empower both clients and families—a Registered Nurse performs an evaluation of fall risk during initial and subsequent health assessments for every client. Proactive measures to address fall risk are then incorporated into individualized plans of care to promote safety in addition to addressing the specific care needs for each client. BrightStar’s specially trained CNAs carry out the client’s individualized plan during every visit so the client is always benefitting from a focus on fall risk reduction. For more, visit brightstarcare.com.