Lower Mainland Health Authorities focus on research and education during Falls Prevention Week

Lower Mainland Health Authorities focus on research and education during Falls Prevention Week
Surrey – Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health have come together between November 1-7, 2010, to create awareness of the impact of falls and the work being done across health authorities to reduce them.

Fall related injury reduction is a priority across Lower Mainland health authorities. By keeping seniors healthy we reduce the number of injuries and hospitalizations related to falls. By reducing falls, we also reduce the high acute care costs related to falls-related injuries including broken hips.

“It’s expected that about 225,000 seniors in British Columbia will experience a fall just this year,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “As most falls can be prevented we need to continue to educate our seniors, their families and caregivers on how to avoid falls, which not only cost our health system more than $155 million but also result in pain, loss of independence and even death.”

On November 5, 2010, Fraser Health’s Dr. Fabio Feldman and Elim Village will host a Fall Prevention and Osteoporosis Awareness Day at Elim Residences in Surrey.

A partnership with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, the events are open to the community and will include a presentation from Dr. Sonia Singh (physician with the Health Bones Clinic at Fraser Health) on osteoporosis and fall prevention. The presentation will be from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the Oasis at Elim.

Feldman, manager, Seniors Fall and Injury Prevention at Fraser Health and researcher with the  Centre for Hip Health and Mobility,  sees this collaboration and Falls Prevention Week as an opportunity to bring the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility Mobile Research Laboratory to a Fraser Health community to research, educate, and provide some insight into the research component of prevention.

The first of its kind in Canada, the Mobile Research Laboratory is dedicated to better understanding mobility and bone health across the lifespan. The Mobile Research Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment and can travel to remote and rural regions to assess falls risk, mobility, and bone health in diverse populations across the province.

Elim residents and other participants are welcome to participate in two small research studies (but must pass screening criteria) using the Mobile Research Laboratory. There will also be an opportunity to tour the Mobile Research Laboratory (from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm).

Researchers at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility are pioneering falls prevention strategies for vulnerable seniors and focusing on ways to improve bone strength across the lifespan. Research on fall prevention is undertaken by Dr. Karim Khan, professor and clinician-scientist, with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and UBC Faculty of Medicine, and medical director of the VCH Falls Prevention Clinic, which works to improve mobility and reduce injurious falls and fracture.

Dr. Feldman is also launching the first ever children’s book about falls prevention aimed at children and their grandparents. Each year, thousands of seniors are taken to hospitals because of injuries sustained during a simple fall.

Using a new, intergenerational approach to falls prevention, the book focuses on the influence that grandkids can have on their grandparents (and vice-versa) to increase awareness about fall prevention and home safety.

Through a story book approach it teaches ways to prevent seniors from falling by providing ideas on how to make their grandparents’ home safer. With a fun story, lively illustrations and loads of safety tips, this book is a great resource for encouraging and teaching about intergenerational falls prevention.

The “Safety Superheroes: Preventing Grandparents from Falling” children’s book will be distributed by Fraser Health to schools and community libraries upon request.

Falls prevention initiatives for Vancouver Coastal Health can be located on a new fall prevention web site, which provides information on steps individuals may take to maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle. Fall prevention information is available in multiple languages including Farsi, Punjabi and Chinese. Website: fallprevention.vch.ca

Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life of more than 1.5 million people living in communities from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope.

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $2.9 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in B.C. communities, including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea-to-Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility is a partnership between the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) through the VCH Research Institute.