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FD1's Community Resource Specialist focuses on helping falls patients and those at-risk for falls

Community resource specialist talks with client at homeFire District 1 responds to about a thousand fall injury calls to 911 each year. Falls are a major threat to the health and independence of people age 65 and older. Nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall. The results of a fall are often a life-changing loss of mobility and independence. That's why we have a program dedicated to preventing falls in the home.

Patients who have fallen or are at-risk of falling can be referred to Fire District 1 Community Resource Specialist Kristen Thorstenson. We follow up with prevention information, assistance in accessing social services, or a home visit for a falls risk assessment and safety survey. 

    Falls Prevention Checklist 

    Studies show that a combination of behavior changes can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:

    1. Participate in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components.
    2. Consult with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment.
    3. Have medications reviewed periodically.
    4. Get eyes and ears checked annually.
    5. Make sure the home environment is safe and supportive:
    • Pick-up trip hazards. Look for anything that might cause you to stumble – papers, books, shoes and clothes.
    • Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
    • Install grab bars next to your toilet and in the bathtub or shower. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or on the shower fl oor.
    • Improve lighting. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well.
    • Make stairs safe with handrails and lights on all staircases.

    Veterans in Prevention

    The Veterans in Prevention Program is part of the innovative South Snohomish County Community Paramedic Task Force. The task force focuses on helping patients with needs outside the scope of the traditional emergency medical services system. Falls are the top reason patients are referred for community paramedic services.

    Veterans in Prevention will be paired up with community paramedics to provide clients, including veterans, with home safety assessments and recommendations. They will also provide follow-up client contact and administrative support for falls prevention outreach.

    Both the Veterans in Prevention and Community Paramedic programs are supported by grants from the Verdant Health Commission.

     WATCH VIDEO FROM KING5:  Snohomish County paramedics trying to reduce growing number of fall injuries