More fall prevention support for seniors

More fall prevention support for seniors

VICTORIA – The Province is launching more resources to prevent seniors from falls, one of the greatest injury risks that B.C. seniors face, announced Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong on behalf of Mary Polak, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport.

B.C. is granting $100,000 to help establish the Centre of Excellence on Mobility, Fall Prevention and Injury in Aging and is launching a first-of-its-kind web course to better educate health-care professionals in B.C., with $600,000 in support from the federal government.

“More than 200,000 seniors in British Columbia experience a fall each year. It’s so important that seniors are aware of how to prevent themselves from falling,” said Chong. “We are working to ensure more health care professionals and caregivers have the knowledge they need to support our seniors, so they can continue to live healthy, active and independent lives.”

The Province designed the E-Learning version of the Canadian Falls Prevention Curriculum, which will be offered across Canada and internationally through the University of Victoria’s Division of Continuing Studies, starting in May 2009. The course will be offered in French starting in the fall of 2009, through the Campus Saint Jean at the University of Alberta. It will be used by health professionals and community support providers to reach thousands of fall prevention stakeholders who do not have access to a face-to-face course. The course focuses on fall prevention in communities as well as residential and acute care facilities.

The Centre of Excellence on Mobility, Fall Prevention and Injury in Aging is a unique collaborative of researchers, health-care providers and policy makers working to improve the health and safety of older British Columbians by educating health professionals and the public.

The $100,000 funding will assist these experts to share their knowledge to more effectively enhance supports for seniors throughout B.C. The centre will be established within the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver General Hospital.

“Falls are not a normal part of aging, and they can easily be prevented,” said Dr. Vicky Scott, senior advisor on falls and injury prevention with the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. “We know that preventative measures, like those outlined in the E-Learning course, are pivotal to enhancing the support provided by health professionals to seniors who are at risk for falls and related injuries.”

For more information on the course, go to www.injuryresearch.bc.ca. For more information on the Centre of Excellence on Mobility, Fall Prevention and Injury in Aging, go to www.hiphealth.ca.