142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Reducing falls risk in community-dwelling older adults: Dental clinics as portals to fall prevention programs

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Victoria H. Raveis, PhD , Psychosocial Research Unit on Health, Aging and the Community, New York University, New York, NY
Jane Bear-Lehman, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA , Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development/College of Dentistry, New York, NY
Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD , College of Dentistry, New York University, New York, NY
BACKGROUND: Falls in older adults have severe economic, physical, and psychological consequences. A leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the elderly, falls account for a high percentage of emergency medical service and hospital admissions for trauma.

PURPOSE: Expanding the reach of evidence-based fall prevention programs could substantially reduce the incidence and healthcare care costs of fall-related injury. Fall prevention programs typically target older adults who sustained an injury. However, community-dwelling elderly, who have not experienced a serious fall, but are at risk, could benefit from earlier implementation of a fall prevention program.

RESULTS:  New York University College of Dentistry’s low cost dental clinic provides comprehensive oral health care to multi-ethnic, economically constrained, community residents. In the approximately 300,000 annual patient visits, about 17% of the 96,000 unique patients treated at the clinic were 65 and older. In a pilot initiative to expand fall prevention outreach efforts, during the dental intake process we are obtaining a falls history and associated risk factors from patients 65 and older. The data collected support the utility of this outreach effort.

CONCLUSIONS: As more adults see their dentist than visit a physician in a given year, dental clinics, a safety net site for the delivery of oral health care to the elderly, are ideally situated to take an active role in injury prevention efforts. Dental clinics have established linkages and referral patterns across systems of care and disciplines that can facilitate delivery of preventive services prior to an injury-sustaining event, delaying or preventing unintentional injuries.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for falls Discuss fall prevention programs Explain the utility of dental clnics as a portal for preventive health programs Assess the vulnerability of older dental patients for unintential falls

Keyword(s): Aging, Minority Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the PI on multiple federally-funded grants focused on promoting healthy aging in older adults living with chronic health conditions.
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.