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Falls prevention group unveils tool kit

photo courtesy of eldergadget.com

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-904384.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The Community Health Foundation on Thursday unveils the "tool kit" developed to help keep frail and elderly people from falling.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

For the past 14 months, professionals from nearly two dozen health care agencies have been studying what causes people to fall. But, more importantly, how to prevent it.

The report by the Western New York Falls Prevention Collaborative shows that many risks can be reduced, both in the home and in public places. Chris Klotz is program advisor for the Community Health Foundation, the group funding the program. She said they have developed a uniform tool kit for health professionals.

The tool kit they developed will provide tips for health care workers to help patients and their families identify risk hazards, such as loose carpet. They also will be taught how to work with their patients to make them less physically at risk.

Exercises are recommended for improving balance, mobility and strength. One video shows people how to do Tai Chi. Klotz said regaining mobility is even more important for people who have already fallen and are less mobile because they were injured. She said fear of falling again creates yet another problem.

"Often it is one of the leading causes of people ending up in nursing homes before they really need to be there, because families are worried about people falling in their homes," said Klotz.

Each year about 80,000 people in Erie County fall. One in ten will be hospitalized. The Community Health Foundation will make the tool kit available online and to health care providers throughout Erie County. The Foundation also soon will expand the program in surrounding counties.