PMH Community Health Assessment Spotlight
Historically, Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) approached falls prevention through a risk assessment model where a client’s risk for falling was assessed using a validated tool. High risk clients were identified by a symbol sticker to alert health care providers of the potential risk for falling. Despite these efforts, falls remained the leading cause of injury across the region.
Falls can happen to anyone at any time in the community setting and facilities. Frequent causes of falls in the community involve stairs, ladders and sports or playgrounds, depending on the age and stage of an individual. There are many factors related to aging and the environment that may lead to falls in a facility. In 2016, the PMH Falls Steering team was expanded to include members from a number of health disciplines and represent the continuum of care including community acute care and long term care. The team explored a new approach to falls prevention that would consider everyone to be at risk for a fall and offer prevention strategies that are tailored to an individual’s risk factors. The intent of a universal falls approach is to implement a minimum standard of prevention efforts for all clients with the aim to reduce falls throughout the region.
Despite current prevention efforts, more than 20 falls are reported each and every day in PMH facilities. Some of these falls result in a hip fracture. As noted in the 2019 Community Health Assessment, the hip fracture hospitalization rate for PMH, from 2012/13 to 2016/17, varies greatly across districts. In Brandon, Downtown residents are twice as likely to be hospitalized as a result of a hip fracture as residents of the South End. On the other hand, the Turtle Mountain district shows a significant decrease over time. It’s important to explore the context in which a fall occurs to fully understand appropriate prevention strategies.
Addressing the social determinants of health such as socio-economic status, housing issues and food security will provide an opportunity to identify personal and environmental risk for falls. PMH has developed a Move-Improve-Remove intervention, as part of the PMH Falls Prevention and Management policy, to offer practical falls prevention interventions for all residents across the region.