Reducing the rate of falls among senior citizens
The Champlain Local Health Integration Network has launched a new screening tool to reduce the rate of falls among senior citizens.
The project, supported by Ontario’s Health Technologies Fund, will also provide valuable data to assist health care teams in developing effective falls prevention strategies for the future.
An estimated 85 per cent of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors are due to falls, accounting for $55 million in health-related costs in the Champlain region every year.
About 20 per cent of elderly people experience at least one fall each year.
The new screening tool, developed by GE Healthcare, is called the Quantitative Timed Up and Go (QTUG). Seniors who are screened with the tool wear sensors on their shins over clothing, and their movements are tracked and analyzed. Individuals are asked to get up from a chair, walk three metres, turn around, walk back to the chair and sit down. Scores are produced from the data, measuring a person’s frailty and risk of falling.
The project targets independent seniors who aren’t usually screened for falls, identifying those at risk and advising them on strategies to increase their safety.
This is one of 15 projects that received funding in the first round of Ontario’s $20-million Health Technologies Fund.
The fund is administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence ( OCE) on behalf of the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS).
“The Health Technologies Fund is already having an impact in the health system because of the collaborations it has created between health service providers, health technology innovators and patients,” says William Charnetski, Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist. “We are finding new ways to solve our greatest challenges by harnessing the power of innovation to provide better care while creating jobs in Ontario.”
The Champlain LHIN's IMPACTT Centre, which drives innovation in home and community care, is leading the local falls screening project, visiting health provider sites and seniors’ social and wellness activities to offer screening opportunities.
“Falls are a major reason for deteriorating health among seniors, leading to negative impacts such as hospitalizations and social isolation. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness among seniors and their families about the importance of preventing falls, and why we need innovative strategies, especially at a time when the population is aging,” says Champlain LHIN CEO Chantale LeClerc. “This project fits with the LHIN’s strategic priority of expanding enabling technologies. It also aligns with our vision of healthy people and healthy communities supported by a quality, accessible health system.”
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