|By Marketwire .||
|September 21, 2012 07:06 PM EDT||
POMONA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 09/21/12 -- Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those ages 65 and over. And the chances of falling and being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., joins the National Council on Aging in celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22, 2012.
WesternU's Patient Care Center provides many services to aid in reducing the risk of falling, including community outreach. On behalf of the Eye Care Center, College of Optometry Chief of Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Valerie Wren, OD, FAAO, recently gave an informational talk to the Arcadia Community Center on "Vision and Fall Prevention." This talk targeted community seniors to help promote vision and safety. College of Optometry third-year students provided 42 vision and balance screenings as well as strategies for fall prevention.
"One in three adults over the age of 65 falls every year, and many fall again and again. Less than half will mention this to their health care providers, so we need to be more proactive about asking about history of falls," Wren said. "Regular vision care is so important for this age demographic, for safety and to maintain their independence in the community."
The Eye Care Center, http://www.westernupcc.com/eye.html, at Western University of Health Sciences, at 795 E. Second St., Pomona, Calif. 91766, offers a comprehensive, interprofessional approach with the latest instrumentation and techniques to manage even the most challenging eye and vision problems. The Eye Care Center provides low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
College of Optometry Assistant Professor Kierstyn Napier-Dovorany, OD, FAAO, is conducting a study with Victoria Graham, DPT, OCS, NCS, of California State University, Northridge, on the effect of visual impairment on falls to determine the best tests for optometrists to perform on people with visual impairments so that those at risk of falling can be evaluated by a professional before they have a fall.
"We are looking at both simple mobility tests that are visually sensitive and vision tests that may correlate with falls," Napier-Dovorany said. "What we are noticing is people with poor contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to see shades of gray such as a typical concrete curb, which can lead to a trip or fall."
Faculty members and students in the College of Allied Health Professions Department of Physical Therapy Education are educating local seniors while evaluating the Stand Up and Be Strong program. The study, funded by a WesternU grant and conducted by Department of Physical Therapy Education faculty members Mary Hudson-McKinney, PT, MS, DPT, NCS, Donna Redman-Bentley, PT, PhD, and Dayle Armstrong, PT, MS, DPT, follows subjects over a six-month cycle.
"We're looking at the predictive value of a common tool called Stand Up and Be Strong," Hudson-McKinney said. "It's an indirect measure of lower extremity muscle strength, so a person can very easily see if they have a lot of difficulty getting out of a chair. That might be a sign of increasing fall risk."
Doctor of Physical Therapy students visit senior centers and work in pairs with each individual. They take a comprehensive health history, review medications, find out if they have a history of prior falls, and do repeated sit-to-stand measures.
"We follow individuals over a six-month time to see how predictive that test was," Hudson-McKinney said. "While we're seeing them, we're educating them through the process, as well."
WesternU's Patient Care Center: http://www.westernupcc.com.
Falls Prevention Awareness Day: http://www.ncoa.org/FPAD.
Office: (909) 469-5402