247332 Using Tai Chi to Prevent Falls in Older New Yorkers

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mary Gallant, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Policy, Management, & Behavior, University at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY
Susan Hardman , Bureau of Injury Prevention, New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
Meaghan Rosenthal, MPH , Bureau of Injury Prevention, New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among older adults in New York. To address this problem, the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Injury Prevention implemented the Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance program in community settings in three counties across the state, and evaluated its effectiveness. Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance, an evidence-based program developed at the Oregon Research Institute, has been shown to improve balance and reduce falls among older adults. In this project, 92 individuals have participated in Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance. Evaluation involved a self-administered questionnaire and balance assessments before and after the 12-week program. Data include demographics, health and fall history, the Activities Specific Balance Scale, the timed up and go test, and a functional reach test. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare mean scores between baseline and follow-up. Participants, the majority female, range in age from 57 to 97. At baseline, almost half report being at least somewhat afraid of falling, 17% have fallen in the past 6 months, and 11% rate their health as fair or poor. Follow-up data is available from 65 (71%) of participants. At follow-up, there is significant improvement in both the timed up and go test (p< 0.001) and functional reach (p<0.001). Mean Activities Specific Balance Scale scores improve over time, but only approach significance (p=0.07). These results demonstrate that a Tai Chi program can reduce fall risk factors when implemented in community settings.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the evidence linking Tai Chi to reduced fall risk. Explain the effectiveness of an evidence-based fall prevention program implemented in community settings.

Keywords: Evidence Based Practice, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the evaluator of the program being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.