Risk of Falls Reduced by Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Service’s Fall Prevention Program

Walnut Creek, California (EastBayDaily) — When Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services modifies a home, it cuts the chances of a senior calling 9-1-1 for a fall by about 53 per cent, according to new data compiled by American Medical Response for their service areas in Contra Costa County.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services started a fall prevention program in 2008, and has reached about 800 seniors a year, and made nearly 500 home modifications such as grab bars, stair railings, etc. If all senior residents were to receive fall prevention services based on this data, we could prevent about three per cent of total 9-1-1 responses for these seniors who are falling.

In an Emergency Medical Services environment where prevention is key for our citizens, these home modifications are a simple, low cost tool which add quality of life and reduce healthcare expenses.

"We examined 9-1-1 address response data from January 2013 through June 2014 to compare the impact of the fall prevention team's home modifications and how many of those addresses have since called 9-1-1 for a fall. We then compared that rate to the overall rate of patients 65+ years old in the area who called 9-1-1 for a fall during that same timeframe," said Dino Curzi, epidemiologist at American Medical Response who has been working collaboratively with Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services.

“This is very exciting and adds another page to our evidence-based fall prevention program,” said MOWSOS Executive Director Elaine Clark. “It shows that what we are doing does, indeed, help to prevent falls, which are a major cause of preventable injuries, medical costs, and loss of independence for our seniors.”

“While this is a small sample, the data indicates that the fall prevention program could help avoid the costs of about three per cent of 9-1-1 responses for fire and first responder agencies. That equates to about 1,362 responses a year that could have been prevented—or about 7 calls per day in our coverage area alone!” said Curzi.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services is a full-service nonprofit organization dedicated since 1968 to helping seniors live independently and with dignity. Based in Walnut Creek, the agency serves seniors all across Contra Costa County. More information can be found at http://www.mowsos.org.

AMR provides emergency response and non-emergency transport services in Contra Costa County (except Orinda, Moraga, Danville, San Ramon and areas of Alamo). See more at http://www.amr.net.


Elaine Clark