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Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Center recognizes Falls Prevention Week with seminar and online tool to help older adults stay “falls-free”

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Falls are the greatest causes of serious injuries and death among people over age 65

Columbia, SC—During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 21–25, Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Center, the Midlands’ only Level I Trauma Center, in partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), are committed to giving their community members the tools and information they need to help reduce risk of falls. Falls are one of the greatest causes of serious injuries and death among people over age 65. 

As part of the partnership with the NCOA, the trauma center and Prisma Health Physical Therapy Specialists are hosting a free webinar to raise awareness among older adults. The webinar, “ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls,” will be held by WebEx, 6:30–7:30 p.m.Tuesday, September 22. The seminar will include tips on fall prevention and a new online falls risk assessment tool. The check-up tool is available at NCOA.org/FallsFreeCheckUp and is a 12-question survey that helps people identify and reduce their most common fall risk factors. 

Prisma Health has two of only five Level I Trauma Centers in South Carolina, Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital and Prisma Health Richland Hospital. These centers care for a large number of older adults who have experienced a fall. The centers provide community education as part of their outreach.

“Each year, one out of four older adults will experience a fall which can result in serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries,’ said Sarah Wilcox, physical therapist and geriatric clinical specialist with Prisma Health Physical Therapy Specialists. “Someone who has experienced a fall is twice as likely to fall again. The ‘ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls’ webinar will provide information for older adults and their caregivers about how they can prevent falls and serious injury before they happen.” 

She added, “Prisma Health has a strong history of helping older residents. We’re proud to be part of this national education and outreach initiative that is helping millions of older adults age well and stay falls-free.” 

Wilcox said that community members can prevent falls and serious injuries before they happen. If anyone thinks they are at risk, they should talk to their doctor and begin taking steps toward prevention.

Here are six tips from the National Council on Aging to help community members prevent a fall:

  • Find a good balance and exercise program
    • Look to build up your balance, strength and flexibility. 
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns
    • Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls and talk about future prevention.
  • Regularly review your medication with your doctor.
    • Make sure your medication’s side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Get your vision and hearing checked. 
    • Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet. Be sure to have vision and hearing check-ups each year and update your glasses if your eyesight changes.
  • Keep your home safe.
    • Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas where you may need more support.
  • Talk to your family members.
    • Enlist their support of taking simple steps to stay safe. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. 

For more information, visit PrismaHealth.org.

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