The number of falls among Hawai‘i’s kupuna is growing at an alarming rate, and impacting families and health care organizations. Annually in Hawai‘i, an average of 86 seniors die, 1,912 are hospitalized and 8,010 are treated in emergency rooms as a result of falls. Among adults 65 and older, these falls are not only common, but related death rates have risen sharply over the past decade. Further studies show seniors 75 and older who fall are four or five times more likely to be admitted to long-term care facilities for a year or longer.
Recent reports show Hawai‘i’s seniors are visiting hospital emergency rooms on a rate of every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This impact on our hospitals and physicians has resulted in close to $102 million in charges.
“The good news is many falls and fall-related injuries are preventable, with current knowledge and collaborative community outreach programs,” explained Gina Beckford, RN, and client service supervisor at Attention Plus Care.
Towards this end, fall prevention has become a larger area of focus and major priority for healthcare providers, seniors and payer sources alike. By promoting the safety and welfare of our seniors, the largest aging population in the country can be made aware of the facts, and of implementing interventions to prevent fall related injuries that can limit independence and mobility. To help raise awareness and address these issues, participating agencies are working with the state Department of Health to help advise seniors, family members and caregivers to know and incorporate the following steps, which are considered to be the four pillars of fall prevention:
- Medication Management: Medications are the most complex of risk factors in senior falls. Have your doctor review your medications yearly.
- Vision Checks: Annual vision checks are vital as people with vision impairments are more than twice as likely to fall than those without visual impairments.
- Home Modifications: Keeping your home safe with proper lighting and removing fall hazards greatly reduces fall risks within the home.
- Physical Activity: In older adults, exercising regularly increases balance, endurance and strength.
Additionally, a Statewide Task Force on Falls Prevention, the Hawai‘i State Fall Prevention Consortium will be hosting the 4th Biennial Fall Prevention Conference on Oct. 16, 2015, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The theme for the conference is “Promising Practices in Fall Prevention and Beyond.” The event will bring together over 300 healthcare professionals raising awareness on falls prevention in older adults.
“As a task force member and corporate sponsor, I highly recommend professional and community members to attend this event,” said Beckford. With everyone’s support and active participation, we can help our seniors to avoid falls and ensure a safer and higher quality of life!
For more information and details on fall prevention and free community workshops on Aging in Hawai‘i hosted by Attention Plus Care, please call: 808-440-9372.
Attention Plus Care, Accredited by the Joint Commission
1580 Makaloa St., Ste. #1060, Honolulu, HI 96814
808-739-2811 | www.attentionplus.com