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About the Project

Introduction of Problem

Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. According to the CDC In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 734,000 of these patients were hospitalized. In 2013, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion. According to the CDC people age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer. Rates of fall-related fractures among older women are more than twice those for men.

The older adult is often faced with a myriad of health related issues with the likelihood of suffering a fall being one major concern. The outcomes of a fall are many, extending from short-term health problems to long-term consequences. In 2010, the CDC reported that 2.3 million older adults were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal fall-related injuries. Furthermore, falls and any fall-related consequences have been reported to be the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization in older adults over 65 years of age, with a staggering one-third of persons this age likely to suffer a fall within a given year. Across the residents of Prince William County (PWC), this represents over 32,250 older adults could fall each year. Recently, a total of 5,840 PW residents suffered a fall with an associated direct and indirect health care cost of $133,338,066.

Up to 30% of people who fall suffer a traumatic injury (e.g., hip fractures, brain injury). In addition, victims of falls often develop a fear of falling, which frequently results in sedentary lifestyles that begin a vicious spiral toward reduced mobility, physical fitness, as well as the risk of early death.

Our Work

The POISED Project will implement a novel and comprehensive model for educating and providing intervention programs for the older adult population in Prince William County, using qualified and highly trained personnel. All older individuals who meet the inclusion criteria are automatically qualified for the services provided.

The key to preventing such an adverse event is identification of persons at risk and the implementation of appropriate interventions and outreach educational activities. Ideally, this would involve; 1) identifying factors that increase risk of falling that can be modified, and, 2) design personalized health exercise program interventions. The most modifiable of these falls risk factors are balance, strength, and walking ability.

Building on prior work by Project Mend-A-House (funded by Potomac Health Foundation), we will collaborate in the area of falls PREVENTION by working on the following areas: i) community outreach/education, ii) environmental (home) assessment and modification, and iii) exercise PREVENTION based on evidence-based programs that have physical and social benefits.

Educational workshops

At least eight education workshops will be offered to provide comprehensive information about falls risk that will be delivered via educational sessions, safety checklist, literature and online to grab as many people as possible. Areas covered will include:

  • Prevention of falls in persons identified as fall risk, as well as those that are not at risk
  • Decreasing risk of additional falls in persons who have fallen in the previous 6 -12 months
  • Reducing the number of fall-related hospitalizations
  • Increasing the number of people living safely and independently in their homes

10-week intervention

Eight 10-week Group Fitness Programs (3 sessions per week) using the S.A.I.L. (Stay Active and Independent for Life) method will be used to help develop strength, coordination, agility and balance required to minimize the occurrence of falls for older adults. Programs will be offered at various locations in Prince William County, location and schedule information can be found on our event calendar (calendar). Primary objectives/focus for the intervention include:

  • Participation in personalized health exercise program will decrease the incidence of falls and respective mortality in aging adults in PWC and PHF catchment area
  • Increased knowledge about falls prevention will decrease the incidence of falls in aging adults in PWC and PHF catchment area
  • Completion of the intervention enables Prince William County residents to have access to a comprehensive understanding of falls risk, safety checklist, environmental assessment and modifications, modifiable factors, and access to personalized heath exercise programs to decrease the risk and consequently the number of falls

Access to home modification exercise

Access to home modification exercise and supplementary information are available for download from the website. Access is provided to increase the number of eligible clients and related projects benefiting from environmental assessment and modification to prevent falls risk, which is accomplished through the creation of a safer and more accessible home environment.