School of Nursing preventing falls in the elderly

Louis Trigg

During the past few months, faculty at the School of Nursing has joined an academic coalition that is studying ways to identify muscle and bone health, which could ultimately reduce the number of falls in the elderly.

“According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, one out of three adults in the United States, age 65 and older falls each year,” said Marco Brotto, B.S.N., Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Muscle Biology Group (MUBIG) at the School of Nursing. “And among those age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.”

Forming the Fall Coalition Prevention to improve the health condition, Brotto recently partnered with School of Nursing Associate Dean Patricia Kelly, public health officials in Clay and Platte counties and the University of Missouri Extension, which developed the program “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy.”

The coalition plans to pilot the empirically-based program and promote awareness of the problem, by organizing classes designed to strengthen muscle and bone health for the elderly. This will help to reduce the risk of falls. It specifically intends to visit nursing homes and other central locations for elderly people in both counties to provide muscle and bone health education, while demonstrating muscle-strengthening exercises.

“Our initial goal in meeting with these groups of senior citizens is to offer some basic information about muscle health and the risk of falling and establish some baseline measurements with regard to their current muscle strength and general health,” Brotto said.

“Then we demonstrate for them a series of simple exercises and ask them to commit to a 10-week regimen of performing the exercises daily.”

Following the 10-week regimen, the coalition will analyze the results from participants.

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