Improving Fall Risk Assessments in Elderly Rural Populations

Date

2021

Authors

Johnson, Jordyn
Gold, Vanna
Gibson, John
Hadley, Lesca

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Abstract

Purpose This QI project was implemented to improve the screening for fall risks in patients over 65 who were not already using a walking assistive device. The town of Lampasas has a population of 19.4% over the age of 65 and there is currently little being done to identify fall risks. Methods Fall risks were identified using the "Get Up and Go" test in which patients were asked to go from a seated position to standing, walk across the room, and return to their chair. The administrator of the test was to watch for any difficulty standing, unsteadiness, or difficulty walking. Ideally, if a fall risk was identified, the administrator should then discuss preventative measures. Results Data collection was done on two separate days. The first day recorded how many screenings were done without intentional implementation of the project. Zero fall risk assessments were done during that day. The second was running the project and including the Get Up and Go test as part of the physical exam. Of the nine possible patients who could have been screened, seven were for an overall increase of 75%. Conclusions A key lesson learned was planning screenings in a way that is practical and easy. The get up and go test is easy to include in physical exams and provides a sampling of a patients mobility. The next steps would be to include the screening as part of the physical exam template in order to que providers to do the assessment.

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