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JCHE’s Brighton Fitness and Maintenance Departments Unite Against a Common Enemy: Falls

Posted: November 13, 2013

Last week, JCHE’s Fitness and Wellness team taught Brighton’s maintenance staff about falls prevention and their role in helping residents reduce their risk for future falls. As direct service personnel who work in individual apartments, our maintenance staff has a critical vantage point for identifying residents who could be referred for services.

Recently, for instance, a daughter contacted Rudy Gazaryan, JCHE’s maintenance dispatcher, because her mother was not answering the telephone. When he checked on the resident, Rudy found that she had fallen to the floor. With targeted education by our fitness team, maintenance workers are now prepared to help residents connect with our fitness team.

The training included an overview of the many reasons someone might fall. Sometimes it might be a result of health issues like dizziness, neuropathy, or blood pressure irregularities. In other cases, it might be caused by a hazard in the physical environment i.e. a slippery throw rug, or worse, clutter due to hoarding that has reached dangerous levels.

Francine Godfrey, JCHE’s fitness and wellness director, asked that her department quickly be notified if staff observe someone falling or are told about a fall. Once the fitness team is alerted, they meet with the resident to “replay” the fall to consider what could be changed to avoid future incidents. With so many factors contributing to a fall, they encourage a multi-pronged approach including muscle strengthening; monitoring of blood pressure and vision; and improvement of balance through customized classes. Residents also receive help from JCHE’s resident services coordinators should they need to eliminate any physical hazards in their apartments.

Before posing for a group photo, maintenance staff all agreed, “This is really about saving lives.”

 

Post script
Within 24 hours of the training, JCHE’s Brighton maintenance staff reported two falls to the fitness department. Fitness staff immediately contacted one of the fallers to schedule an evaluation in order to build a customized fall prevention strategy. A second resident was hospitalized as a result of the fall. JCHE’s staff will be in touch with her after she returns from the hospital and heals.

JCHE’s Falls Prevention Initiative is underwritten by generous grants from the Liberty Mutual Foundation and Fallon Community Health Plan. JCHE’s Falls Prevention Initiative is part of the Fitness and Wellness Program. The Fitness and Wellness Program is made possible by philanthropic gifts from MutualOne Foundation, Lawrence J. and Anne Rubenstein Charitable Foundation and other charitable supporters.

 

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