Lakeridge Health Whitby’s Centre for Health and Aging proudly opened its new Falls Prevention Clinic as part of its commitment to expanding specialized geriatric services in Durham Region. The Clinic is the only service of its kind in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area.
In 2001/2002, unintentional falls in Ontario accounted for 61% of injury hospitalizations. And locally, Lakeridge Health Oshawa’s Emergency Room saw nearly 1,000 cases of fall-related injuries – excluding falls attributed to slipping on ice or snow.
“Today, one third of older Canadian adults fall each year with nearly 36% of those falls causing serious injuries,” said Sandra Mairs, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Lakeridge Health. “And with the number of people over age 65 increasing by 20% over the next five years, falls and fall-related injuries are a growing critical concern for the healthcare sector,” she added.
The Falls Prevention Clinic provides elderly residents living at home and who are at risk of falling or have already experienced a fall with a physical assessment and information on how to prevent falls and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Forty percent of admissions to nursing homes are the result of falls. “Our goal is to ensure that our elderly remain in their own homes, close to familiar surroundings, family and friends. This new clinic is designed to help them do that – maintaining their independence for as long as possible,” added Ms. Mairs.
The Complex Continuing Care/Geriatrics/ Rehabilitation program and team work together to provide a range of services all geared towards helping patients return to the community and lead independent lives. One’s ability to live independently may be altered after a fall. That is why the clinic stresses the possible after-effects of a fall during a patient’s visit at the Falls Prevention Clinic.
“A fall-related injury can have a significant impact on the quality of life and overall well-being of an individual and their loved ones when we consider the trauma, loss of independence and loss of function,” says Mairs.Patients are already benefiting from their assessment at the clinic. “The clinic was excellent,” says Mr. Bowen, the clinic’s first patient. “I am trying to follow some exercises they recommended and adjust to my new cane. The staff was very helpful and thorough. It was well worth my trip.”
Other members of the clinic’s team include Physiotherapist, Sandi Smith, Occupational Therapist, Sarah Desjardine, Clerk, Debbie Moorhouse, and Dr. Jim Park, Specialist in Rehabilitation and Geriatrics.
While the Durham Region Health Department has made substantial efforts to educate the public about how to prevent falling, Lakeridge Health’s Fall Prevention Clinic is unique in its education and assessment combination. “Physicians in the community can now identify specific individuals in need and refer them to the clinic,” noted Mairs.
For more information about the Falls Prevention Clinic, contact Sandra Mairs at 905-668-8279 Ext. 3107.