Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Creativity in reducing falls among the elderly

#qualitysummit The Health Care Quality Summit in Saskatoon has had a number of break-out sessions with "Saskatchewan Stories."  I attended one entitled, "Engagement of front line workers in falls prevention at a long term care facility," conducted by Michelle Gould and Jodie Irving at Extendicare Parkside.

The issue was how to help avoid falls among a group of elderly patients with dementia.  The rate of falls was very high, with over 35% of the patients suffering from fall.  The usual generic methods of preventing falls were not successful, and so the staff decided to be creative, tailoring approaches to the characteristics of individual patients.  One success story involved this gentleman, who regularly fell, usually when experiencing stress.  The staff noticed that the man enjoyed being engaged in small motor physical tasks and also being near the staff.  In fact, when both occurred, his stress levels were noticably lower.

So the staff invented a task for the man, repeatedly putting pennies into a cup, and they arranged for him to be in frequent proximity to the staff.  In the months since they organized this approach, he has had no falls whatsoever.

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