Online Program

Reducing the incidence of falls among a geriatric population: Health education & tai chi pilot study

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jessica Solares, MPH, MCHES, Health Education, AltaMed Health Services Corp., Los Angeles, CA
Maria Guadalupe Lara, MD, MPH, MHA, Health Education Department, AltaMed Health Services Corp., Los Angeles, CA
Tai Chi has been widely publicized in health promotion literature as an effective intervention to reduce the incidence of falls among a geriatric population. Our fall prevention program was initiated to address the high volume of falls, trended from January 2011 to March 2012, within one of our geriatric healthcare centers in East Los Angeles. We examined the effectiveness of using Tai Chi exercise to reduce the incidence of falls among older adult participants. The intervention consisted of a 30-minute session offered twice a week for six months. Classes were provided by a health educator (trained in Tai Chi). Each session was conducted with musical accompaniment and incorporated a brief health education message. There were two primary cohorts that were monitored during the program's implementation. One cohort known as the “History of Fall Group,” included participants who reported falling (one or more times) within the last six months prior to Tai Chi program start date and/or demonstrated a low Berg Balance Score. The second group, known as the “History of No Fall Group” included any participant with no history of fall who was able and willing to attend the Tai Chi class. We tracked and analyzed class attendance, pre and post berg balance scores as well as the number of reported falls. We concluded that Tai Chi not only reduced the incidence of falls among older adult participants, it also led to increased motivation to engage in more physical activity and a healthier psycho-emotional wellbeing.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of tai chi exercise in improving senior health outcomes broadly defined to include physical, emotional and social well-being.

Keyword(s): Aging, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 10 years as Health educator. I have gained experience in implementing multiple preventive evidence-based programd that include lifestyle interventions such as healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management. stress management. My expertise and passion is health education, specifically, how to deliver health information to lay persons in a digestible format. I how know to educate and raise awareness among populations characterized by low literacy.
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.