Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) Geriatric Quality Improvement Projects, 1478201-1

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2020

Authors

Westberg, Alexa

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Purpose: Falls remain something feared by both patients and healthcare providers alike. For patients, falling can lead to an overall decreased quality of life and for providers, falls lead to spending millions of healthcare dollars each year. For a small community in rural Texas, could addressing fall risks lead to increased quality of life across the community and less healthcare dollars spent? Method: Two weeks of patient charts were reviewed prior to beginning data collection, this review looked at how many patients 65 and older were seen in the clinic that week and how many of those patients were asked about fear of falling or fall risks. Then 4 weeks of data collection began. Patients 65 and older were given a STEADI questionnaire and had the results of the questionnaire discussed with them. Results: Pre-data collection, 10-12.5% of patients 65 and older were being asked about fear of falling or fall risks each week. During data collection, the number of patients 65 and older asked about fall risks or fear of falling increased to 92-100% per week. Conclusion: Overall, patients 65 and older are at the highest risk of falling, though the majority of these patients are not having conversations with their healthcare provider about falls. As a follow-up to the completed survey about risks for falls, a physical test such as the Get Up and Go Test could be implemented as the next step in risk assessment.

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