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Take advantage of fall prevention programs and medical alert systems

Published on September 22, 2016

Take advantage of fall prevention programs and medical alert systems

Melissa Hjelle, Injury Prevention Specialist
CentraCare Health

"Being a trauma surgeon at St. Cloud Hospital, I see too often how a seemingly simple fall from a standing height can affect a person and their family. The level of disability, time spent in the hospital and subsequent subacute facility and the chance that person may never return home can be devastating."

Kurt A. Martinson, MD
Medical Director
St. Cloud Hospital Trauma Services

Too quickly the best day or even the average day, can turn tragic due to fall.

Too quickly the best day or even the average day, can turn tragic due to a fall. Last year, more than 800 people went to St. Cloud Hospital Emergency Room due to injuries sustained from falling. The vast majority of these individuals were older adults. These falls were mostly caused by slips and trips or from daily activities like getting in or out of bed, a chair or off the toilet.

It’s a fact that one in three adults over age 65 will fall each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that one in five of those falls will result in more serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries. Falls also are the leading cause of death for older adults. It is this reality that grabs the attention of CentraCare along with our community partners such as the Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Whitney Senior Center and Catholic Charities to put forth efforts to prevent falls.

In our communities there are many wonderful resources offering simple ways to prevent and significantly decrease the risk of falling. Evidence-based programs such as Stepping On, A Matter of Balance and Tai Chi Quan: Moving for Better Balance along with fall risk assessments or even recommendations for easy home or personal safety adaptations are available. Please contact either the Whitney Senior Center at 320-255-7245 or Catholic Charities – Senior Services at 320-229-4591 or visit the Central MN Council on Aging calendar for upcoming workshops and details.

Individuals can live without the fear of falling and not being able to get up knowing help is instantly available at the press of a button. Personal emergency response systems are available through CentraCare’s Medical Alert Service department. Medical Alert Service offers in-home and mobile help buttons as well as fall detection buttons that can automatically send a signal for help when a fall occurs.

Getting help within one hour after a fall improves survival rate by more than 90 percent. When seconds count, an alert system can make a vital difference. For more information, visit Medical Alert Service or call 320-255-5700.

Learn more:

Free Balance Assessments

Falls are the main reason why older people lose their independence. Are you at risk? Nursing students from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University will be offering the free balance assessments. No need to register, just stop in on Friday, Sept. 23 at the following locations:

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Melissa Hjelle

Melissa Hjelle
Injury Prevention Specialist
CentraCare Health

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