David Y. Ige | DOH news release: Statewide fall prevention awareness campaign begins to reduce kupuna fall injuries

DOH news release: Statewide fall prevention awareness campaign begins to reduce kupuna fall injuries

Posted on June 23, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawai’i Fall Prevention Consortium are launching a nationwide campaign to reduce kupuna fall injuries. Running through July 17, the campaign includes new public service announcements, tai chi classes, a tai chi instructors’ workshop, medication assessments for seniors, ‘Fall Proof’ workshops, and community presentations focused on preventing falls. older adults.

“Almost every hour, a senior is transported by ambulance to an emergency department in our state due to a fall injury. Still, many falls and fall-related injuries can be prevented with existing knowledge and technology,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention Systems Division. “The DOH is excited to continue this valuable program to help ensure the safety and well-being of Hawaiian seniors.”

Each year from 2016-2021, Hawaii had an average of 144 seniors deaths, 2,251 hospitalizations, and 10,046 treated in emergency departments due to accidental falls.

The elderly are disproportionately affected by falls. Statistics show that the over-65s are the most vulnerable. Falls have emotional and physical impacts on both seniors and their carers, taking a significant financial toll on families and the healthcare system; more than $223 million in hospital and doctor costs were incurred in 2021 for fall-related injuries in Hawaii.

The Hawai’i Fall Prevention Consortium was formed in 2003 with the support and leadership of the DOH’s Injury Prevention and Control Program. The consortium includes government agencies, professional associations, non-profit organizations, hospitals and senior organizations.

DOH offers the following important advice to seniors, their relatives and caregivers to prevent falls and fall-related injuries that can limit mobility and independence:

  • Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications annually;
  • Get an annual eye exam;
  • If you live alone, provide a personal electronic safety device;
  • Make your home safer by eliminating fall hazards and improving lighting; and
  • Exercise regularly to increase balance and flexibility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, evidence-based exercise programs such as Tai Chi for Health can increase strength and improve balance, making falls much less likely.

Hawaii’s fall prevention program has been recognized as one of “the best awareness campaigns in the nation” at a previous National Council on Aging (NCOA) National Falls Prevention Resources Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

Fall Prevention Presentations “Aging is Not for Sissy”

This award-winning presentation will continue in various locations around O’ahu and neighboring islands pending current COVID specifications and protocols. Currently, the Department of Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System (EMSIPSB) is planning presentations based on community requests. Call (808) 733-9202 or email [email protected] to inform when and where the next event will be.

“Fall-Proof” Senior Assistive Safety Devices at Home

The City Mill stores at Nimitz and Pearl City house fall prevention and home safety specialists from the DOH. The public will be informed about the exact dates on which the “Fall Proof” workshops will take place. These events will use all current COVID safety protocols. Seniors and their families are invited to ask questions about the latest senior resource resources that can help make a home safer and nearly “fall proof”. See stores for a schedule of DOH events.

TIMES Pharmacies will offer medication assessments for seniors

TIMES pharmacists will provide medication assessments for kupuna by appointment during the campaign. Seniors are urged to speak to pharmacists on TIMES to see if multiple medications are a potential problem and could be contributing to dizziness or a potential fall.

Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention Classes Held at All O’ahu YMCAs

Ongoing classes in Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention (TCAFP) are offered at all O’ahu YMCAs. All classes are led by certified TCAFP instructors and their certified skills are one of the reasons this practice is one of the world’s leading fall prevention programs. Contact your YMCA for more information.

Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention Instructor Workshop

A Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention (TCAFP) Instructor Workshop will be held in August to recertify instructors in TCAFP. Certification is maintained by the International Tai Chi for Health Institute. For information on community classes call (808) 733-9202 or visit the DOH website at https://health.hawaii.gov/injuryprevention/home/preventing-falls/tai-chi/

Media contact:

Katie Arita Chang

communication agency

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: (808) 286-4806

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