INDIANAPOLIS–In a recent analysis of data for all emergency medical incidents handled by the Fishers Fire Department, injuries as a result of falls was second only to injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Armed with these statistics, the Fishers Fire Department and Community Health Network have launched a campaign to reduce falls in the Fishers area by 35% over the next two years.
As a part of the campaign, the Community Hospital North emergency department, Community Home Health Services, Community’s Touchpoint Senior Services program, and the Fishers Fire Department, are implementing a fall prevention program for senior citizens. The program will include several components, such as:
· Fall risk assessment
· Medication review
· Vision check
· Home safety assessment
“Records show that 741 injuries in a two year period occurred as a result of falls, and 623 of those injured required hospitalization,” said Steve Davison, division chief, emergency medical services for the Fishers Fire Department. “Many of those injured are senior citizens, so we decided to develop a comprehensive plan to help seniors avoid hospitalization and live comfortably and safely in their own homes.”
Of the 741 falls recorded, more than 400 were people over the age of 50, and the largest number of falls occurred in the 81-90 age group, which experienced 131 falls. In addition to the fall prevention program, the Fishers Fire Department will conduct a follow-up evaluation for every person who is 60 years or older and has a history of falls. Common conditions in older adults increase the risk of falls:
· Heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s and low blood pressure can cause dizziness, balance problems and fatigue
· Diabetes can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, leading to a reduced “sense of place”
· Arthritis results in loss of flexibility and increased difficulty maintaining balance
· Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure result in breathing difficulties, weakness and fatigue, even with slight exertion
· Vision problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts, decrease visual function
· Medications, particularly sleeping medications, anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs and heart medication
“We are excited to partner with the Fishers Fire Department Emergency Medical Services to improve the health and well-being of Fishers residents.” said Shelley O’Connell, director of Community’s Touchpoint Senior Services program.