Senior citizens to learn about fall prevention from students on Sept. 23

student meets with senior citizen

Aug. 29, 2014 - More than 50 senior citizens from the area are expected to visit Quinnipiac University's Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences on the North Haven Campus on Tuesday, Sept. 23, to learn about fall prevention. Sept. 23 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.

The event, sponsored by Quinnipiac's National Institute for Community Health Education and Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education, will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.

Students from athletic training, diagnostic imaging, the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, the physician assistant program, physical therapy and social work will participate.

Christine Kasinskas, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, is helping coordinate the event.

Kasinskas said she has contacted area assisted-living facilities, senior centers and physicians' offices about the event.

"Falls are a major problem in the United States," she added.

One out of three adults aged 65 or older falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries. The center reports that in 2010, 2.3 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized. In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30 billion.

Quinnipiac's National Falls Prevention Day activities will include a panel discussion with students and, "Clara," a high fidelity simulation mannequin who has taken a serious fall.

The older adults will then visit Clara's mock apartment at the center and will be asked to identify multiple fall risks such as rugs that are not anchored properly and a walker that is poorly maintained.

In addition, the event will feature a light breakfast, raffle, free screenings and information booths about topics such as bone density, home safety and use of assistive devices. The co-sponsors are Apex Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy and the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention.

"We hope the seniors walk away with a better understanding of how to prevent a fall in their lives," Kasinskas said. "We hope people will be more aware of ways to minimize their risk of falls."

Tracy Van Oss, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy, is also organizing the event.

"We're teaching our students that it is important to give back," she said. "We typically train students on how to work with patients after they are already ill or injured. There's a big push for all of our professions to work on preventing injuries and keeping seniors well."

For more information, call 203-582-8655.