PREVENTING FALLS AS A PUBLIC HEALTH INITIATIVE
As part of its ongoing wellness and disease prevention initiative, Long Beach Medical Center partnered with the leadership of TD Bank to conduct a year-long falls prevention and awareness program for senior citizens residing in Long Beach and surrounding communities.
The Long Beach Fall Prevention Program includes two components – a community-wide outreach program to increase awareness among senior citizens throughout the community and the implementation of a seven week, evidence-based group learning program, “Stepping On,” that has been scientifically proven to reduce falls.
The community outreach component, developed as a Coalition with input from seven Long Beach-based senior agencies, includes presentations to local senior groups and at local senior health fairs. In addition to imparting education and awareness, Long Beach Medical Center’s physical and occupational therapists conduct two simple balance screening tests, the Timed Sit to Stand and the Timed One Legged Stance, to provide seniors with an assessment of their current balance status.
The group learning program, “Stepping On,” was developed by a team of professional geriatric practitioners and accepted for peer-reviewed publication in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It is one of only two programs recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control as effective in preventing falls.
“Stepping On” is a seven-week program that utilizes small group discussion and feedback, balance and strengthening exercises and presentations by health professionals (e.g. occupational therapists, physical therapists, pharmacist, vision specialist). At the end of the seven week program, participants receive a 1-hour home visit from an occupational therapist, a 3-month group booster session and a 6-month follow-up phone call.
The overall goal of the programs is to offer individuals 65+ a way of reducing falls and at the same time increasing self-confidence in situations where they are at risk of falling.
For more information on fall prevention and safety, please contact Long Beach Medical Center's Department of Public Affairs at (516) 897-1095.