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MedWest focuses on fall prevention

Programs at the Osteoporosis Center at MedWest-Haywood already promote the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis, but the doctors at the center want to do more.

They want to identify people who are at risk for falling, which can lead to debilitating problems or death.

“Falls are costly, and with the graying of America, it’s becoming an even greater problem,” said Rheumatologist Kate Queen. “Ninety percent of fractures are caused by falls. If we can identify people who are at risk for falls before they happen, we may have a bigger impact.”

Rarely are people assessed for their fall risk, which can result from a wide range of causes including cardiovascular disease, dementia, low vision, foot issues or in a person who takes multiple medications, Queen said.

During the first 14 months of Queen’s project, 900 patients were identified as at risk for falls and about 20 percent of those individuals have transitioned into a yearlong training program.