Submitted by Providence Health & Services, Southwest Washington
A recent Providence St. Peter Foundation grant of $40,000 awarded to the Geriatric Center of Excellence at Providence Clinic at Panorama is resulting in a collaborate effort between the Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Peter Hospital Rehab Services, the Department of Health and community organizations to help reduce falls in senior citizens.
In Thurston County, 41 percent of older adults have fallen at least once in 2012 per WA DOH statistics. Nationally, 1 in 3 older adults fall once a year. Falls cause injuries, fractures, hospitalizations and loss of independence.
The grant is to fund training, education, marketing, and administration of the Falls Prevention Program across a continuum of care. Providers, Rehabilitation staff and community fitness instructors work together to create a safer geriatric community together and reduce the risk of falls.
The Integrative Geriatric Center for Excellence (GCOE) Fall Prevention program, under Leadership of Medical Director Ana Mihalcea, M.D., has been implemented by the Panorama Clinic provider team – Dr. Rennie, Dr. Elliott and Alison Meyer ARNP. Providers are using the CDC’s STEADI guidelines and offer multifactorial fall risk factor modification visits. The program will be expanded to Providence St. Peter Family Medicine Residency in the near future.
The Providence St. Peter Rehabilitation Services Department, under leadership of Director Columbus Candies and PT Jill Smith, work to facilitate therapy services for patients referred to the therapist for skilled therapy as well as the development of community Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® classes.
“Studies have shown that Tai Ji Quan Movement for Better Balance classes reduce fall rates for seniors by 55 percent,” said Candies.
The program includes training for fitness instructors who recently came to St. Peter Hospital and were trained in Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance. Classes have already begun at the Lacey Sr. Center, Panorama City Retirement community. Further classes will be hosted at the Olympia Sr. Center and other venues. The Foundation grant is also covering the cost of the class for eligible seniors for up to six months.
Community outreach and education events were attended by Smith and other therapists, such as Lakefair Senior Day on July 17. Dr. Mihalcea will be presenting with therapists at the Panorama City Fall Prevention event Sept. 23.
For more information on the program, contact the Geriatric Center of Excellence at Providence Clinic at Panorama at 491-4460 or Physical Therapy, Columbus Candies at ext. 37644.