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November 27, 2015
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is promoting falls prevention in hospital and through community partnerships. Falls among older adults are the leading cause of death, hospitalization and Emergency Department visits in unintentional injuries among individuals 65 years and over in Middlesex-London.
“At LHSC, 21 per cent of severe traumas presented to the Emergency Department during the summer of 2015 were falls,” says Jane Edwards, Injury Prevention Specialist, LHSC. “In the last two years, falls were the primary cause of injury in older adults, accounting for nearly half of their major traumas. In the last five years over 500 severely injured older adults have been seen at LHSC as a consequence of a fall.”
Edwards joined the Middlesex-London Falls Prevention Collaborative to kick-off the first ever Fall Prevention Month in Canada at an event called Finding Your Balance, which paired community organizations with 150 senior citizens and featured community organizations, caregivers, guest speakers, exhibitors, and fitness activities.
“Fall prevention is critical for patients in our hospital and for those in our community. For inpatients, if it is an injurious fall, they may require surgery, requiring longer recovery than initially anticipated impacting their length of stay. For someone living in the community it can affect their quality of life, loss of independence and decrease their confidence resulting in them being less active,” says Cathy Litwin, Patient Specialist, Quality, Patient Safety & Patient Experience, LHSC.
Litwin co-chairs an inter-professional Fall Prevention Working Group at LHSC consisting of a physical therapist, occupational therapists, clinical educators, a front line nurse, ergonomist, risk management and injury prevention specialist. “The Fall Working Group evaluates the fall rates and contributing factors using the Adverse Event Management System, assesses the LHSC fall strategy across LHSC by unit and works with individual areas on strategies to reduce or prevent falls/injurious falls,” she explains.
Throughout November, Edwards and Litwin engaged patients, families, visitors, and LHSC staff to share fall prevention resources.
Fall Prevention Tips: