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Students from School of Nursing Volunteer at Fall-Prevention Program at Saint Vincent Hospital

Students from School of Nursing Volunteer at Fall-Prevention Program at Saint Vincent Hospital

  • On September 22, students from the School of Nursing at MCPHS–Worcester hosted a fall-prevention day at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA.

    More than 60 nursing students staffed the event, which was sponsored by the National Council on Aging and the Falls Free Coalition.

    One in four Americans over the age of 65 experience a fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans. But, as nursing students explained at the event, falls are not an inevitable part of aging, and the risk of falling can be reduced through lifestyle adjustments.

    Edith Claros, PhD, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, PMHNP, who serves as Track Coordinator and an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, explained that falls are common, and that elderly people’s fear of falling can have a broad negative impact on their lives.

    “Many elderly people are hesitant to go outside and participate in community or social activities for fear of falling,” said Professor Claros. “They develop feelings of loneliness, which affect their physical and mental health and quality of life.”

    She points to programs like the Saint Vincent Hospital collaboration as integral in preventing falls and improving the overall quality of life for elderly people.

    “Many falls in the elderly can be prevented through proper screening and assessment of potential hazards in their home environment, their balance and coordination, medications, dementia, vision and hearing, and other risk indicators,” said Professor Claros. “It is important to promote mental and physical well-being through proper nutrition, hydration, and exercising to improve balance as well as wearing the proper shoes.”

    Nursing students provided blood pressure screenings, fall risk and balance assessments, and footwear screenings, and advised attendees on how to modify their homes to prevent falls, as well as on how to safely get up from the floor in the event of a fall.

    “It was a fabulous event that provided fall-prevention information for the seniors of the Worcester community in a holistic way,” said Catherine Carroca, MSN, RN, an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. “The event highlighted how vision, balance, proper footwear, medications, blood pressure, and environmental hazards within the home can contribute to falls. The event also featured resources for seniors, such as Lifeline Medical Alert and the local senior center, which assist this community in being safe at home.”

    The program was an opportunity for nursing students to put the knowledge they have acquired in class into action and gain firsthand experience in patient education.

    “Nurses are at the forefront of patient safety across the domains of patient care,” said Professor Claros. “As nursing students begin to transition into the role of the professional nurse, it is important that they become conscious of the impact of their role in patient care safety by helping reduce falls in the elderly, not only in the hospital setting but in the community as well.”

    Professor Claros believes the fall-prevention program affords nursing students the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to the test. “Nursing students have the opportunity to use their critical thinking to advance their clinical judgment,” she said. “Through this program, they applied hands-on skills that they learn throughout the nursing program and implemented nursing interventions that are intended to protect patients from injury.”

    With quizzes, games, a raffle, and free Tai Chi mini classes, the event was a fun and educational experience for participants.

    Saint Vincent Hospital, which has been offering health and medical care to the greater Worcester area for more than 125 years, is a clinical affiliate of MCPHS and is located just a half mile from our Worcester campus.

    The School of Nursing at MCPHS offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs designed to empower the next generation of nursing leaders.