National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, September 23rd – 29th this year, will be recognized by the Elderly Fall Prevention Coalition (EFPC) of Ventura County by hosting its third annual public forum. On Friday, September 18th, 2015, at the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park Community Center Auditorium, 1605 East Burnley Street, Camarillo, from 10 am – 3 pm, the forum will include an introduction by 2nd District Supervisor Kathy Long, exciting presentations on fall prevention measures, demonstrations on evidence-based programs, hydration techniques, Zumba, home assessment measures, and individual assessments, including, but not limited to: equilibrium/balance, bone density, vision, blood pressure. The public, especially those who are caregivers, will enjoy this no-cost forum.
Thirty percent of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. The cost of falls to the US Health system was $28 billion in 2010, and projected to rise to $60 billion by 2020. Muscle strengthening, aerobic and balance exercises all aid in the prevention of falls. “It is a known fact that every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury,” says Dr. Thomas Duncan, Trauma Medical Co- Director for Ventura County Medical Center and Medical Co-Director of Anacapa Surgical Associates. “Falls are the #1 cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries and hospital admissions in the elderly.” Now, with the assistance of medical alert systems with fall detection, hopefully the numbers of elderly falls will reduce.
The EFPC has been in existence for over three years. The coalition’s goals are to prevent repeated falls in the elderly population by including them in evidence-based programs. Under the auspices of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, a pilot program was launched in west Ventura County, in July 2014. The coalition is a collaborative effort including, but not limited to: Ventura County Medical Center, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Ventura County Public Health, Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, the Camarillo Health Care District, Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Hospital, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), all Ventura County ambulance providers,
Ventura and Oxnard fire departments, Livingston Memorial, Scan Health, Kaiser, HealthWise Home Care Solutions, Oxnard Family Circle Adult Health Care Center, Equilibrium Balance Performance Center, and Habitat for Humanity.
The County’s Area Agency on Aging was recently awarded the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging – n4A – Achievement Award for Fall Prevention during the n4A Annual Conference and Tradeshow held in July 2015, in Philadelphia. Winning such a prestigious national award validates the hard work of the staff, the Advisory Council, the Fall Prevention Coalition and volunteers, and demonstrates VCAAA’s commitment to being an Agency that is innovative and responsive to the changing needs of the seniors in Ventura County,” said Area Agency on Aging Director Victoria Jump.
“National awards like these also substantiate the forward-thinking of the Board of Supervisors and Mike Powers, CEO, in supporting this agency wholeheartedly in our efforts in the HomeShare and Fall Prevention programs. Dr. Thomas Duncan, Trauma Medical Co-Director of the Ventura County Medical Center, whose vision of the creation of the Fall Prevention Coalition and Fall Prevention Program was the catalyst for those efforts, deserves special recognition.”
The EFPC has developed a unique program that involves instituting fall prevention measures at the initial point of contact, when EMS personnel respond to a 911 call after a fall. A series of events occur that will enable EMS to leave educational material in homes and conduct a rapid fall assessment. Victims transported to emergency rooms will undergo further evidence-based testing to assess their fall risk. Prior to discharge from the hospital, it will be determined whether a fall victim requires close follow-up for health issues, versus the need for home safety improvement. Recently, other evidence-based programs (Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance, Stepping On, Walk with Ease, A Matter of Balance) have been incorporated into our program, to prevent primary falls.