Workshop to focus on preventing falls among the elderly

PHOTO COURTESY OF MCDOWELL TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE

The McDowell Falls Prevention Leadership Workshop will take place Thursday, Sept. 21 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at McDowell Technical Community College’s Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in rooms 105 and 106. It is free to the public.

Later this month, a special workshop will be held so McDowell County’s health care providers and the general public can learn more about preventing falls among the elderly.

The McDowell Falls Prevention Leadership Workshop will take place Thursday, Sept. 21 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at McDowell Technical Community College’s Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in rooms 105 and 106. It is free to the public.

The reason behind this workshop is our population is getting older and more susceptible to injuries from falls. On average, 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 years old every day. This rate will continue until the year 2025.

According to the Center for Disease Control statistics, once every second of every day, an older adult falls. Falls in older Americans is the No. 1 cause of hip fractures. One in four older Americans fall each year and 7 million of those who fall require medical treatment. Annually, 27,000 older adults or an average of 75 older Americans will die per day as a result of a fall. In the next 13 years, these rates are anticipated to almost double. Preventing falls can save and improve lives and reduce the costs to the patient and health care systems, according to a news release.

This year, National Falls Prevention Day is Friday, Sept. 22, the first day of fall. In anticipation of this event, the McDowell Senior Center, McDowell Technical Community College and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) are partnering to offer local health care providers training on fall prevention.

This workshop is intended for interested health care providers and anyone from the public who want to help prevent falls in our older residents. The emphasis will be on educating providers and the community on falls prevention and the methods of assessing and managing their patients’ risk, according to the news release.

The following guest speakers will be present:

• Dr. Golnosh Sharafsaleh, geriatric medicine specialist with Blue Ridge Healthcare in Morganton. Sharafsaleh will explain the large concern about falls in our older population, including statistics, demographics and methods of prevention.

• Vicki Mercer, physical therapist and professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Physical Therapy faculty. Mercer will provide the key note talk: “It Takes a Village to Prevent a Fall.” She will report on the efforts of EMS and primary care providers working on fall prevention strategies in Orange County and their outcomes.

• Michelle Cotton (Master of Science in Nursing and Registered Nurse) and continuum care manager at Community Medicine Old Fort and Family Medicine Glenwood. Cotton will bring to the discussion a local voice for our older adults in McDowell County. She will explain the current falls prevention efforts in the local primary care practice offices.

The final group discussion will be led by local members of the McDowell Balance and Fall Prevention Program. The group will talk about reviving the McDowell Falls Prevention Coalition, establish a resource fact sheet and insure that falls prevention programming is sustained as our population ages.

Local vendors will be available with services and equipment that help prevent falls such as items to modify homes, medical equipment and patient care programs, according to the news release.

MAHEC designates this workshop as meeting the criteria for 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) as established by the National Task Force on the Continuing Education Unit. You must attend the entire workshop to receive the full credit.

To receive the CEU credits, participants must be pre-registered by Monday, Sept. 18 by emailing Senior Center Director Weyland Prebor at wprebor@mcdowellseniorcenter.org. For physical therapists and physical therapist assistants wanting Continued Competency Points, they should email Martha Zimmerman at mzimmerman0988@gmail.com. There is no charge for registration, but all participants expecting credits must pre-register.