Mobile falls clinics for seniors to expand

Service pioneered by Fraser Health to help seniors prevent dangerous falls will be offered across B.C.

Mobile clinics pioneered by Fraser Health to help seniors avoid dangerous falls and stay active longer will be rolled out across the province.

The mobile labs bring imaging instruments like X-ray body scans and fall-risk assessment tools to individual communities.

Seniors can meet with nurses, pharmacists, kinesiologists and physiotherapists to get various tests involving strength, balance, vision, blood pressure, a medication review and a diet evaluation focused on calcium and vitamin D. They leave with a personalized activity program.

“There are four key ways to prevent falls as a senior: get your eyes checked, make your home safer, get regular exercise – including strength and balance training – and ask your doctor or pharmacist to

review your medications,” said Fabio Feldman, manager of Fraser Health’s falls and injury prevention program. “Following this simple advice could save you, or someone you love, the pain and suffering of a dangerous fall.”

The mobile clinics first launched in Fraser Health but increased provincial funding will allow them to go province-wide by 2018, in partnership with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver General Hospital.

Seniors can contact their GP for a referral for the next time the clinics come to their area.

Each year, one-third of B.C. seniors fall, and 4,000 seniors who fall sustain a hip fracture.

Falls are the top cause of injury-related deaths in seniors in B.C., and 20 per cent of older people who fall and fracture a hip do not survive.

For more information online, see FallsClinic.ca or FindingBalanceBC.ca.