Graduation Date

5-2017

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

First Reader

Susan Morris, Ph.D., OTR/L

Second Reader

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

Abstract

Falls are a significant concern for community-dwelling older adults (OAs), with one in four OAs reporting a fall every year. Occupational therapy students collaborated with first responders of the Novato Fire District to identify gaps in fall prevention community outreach programs and found that many interventions lack an interactive or individualized approach. Based on the gap analysis and current literature, seven education modules were developed to address key risk factors including home safety hazards, polypharmacy, fear of falling, and strength and balance exercises. Thirty community-dwelling OAs participated in the education modules that were implemented at two senior community sites in Marin County. Participants were screened via Functional Reach Test (FRT) and completed a survey to determine their personal risk factors for falling, which guided their personalized fall prevention education. Of the participants, 90% rated their experience with the education modules as “very good” or “excellent,” and a majority indicated greatest satisfaction with the balance exercises. The interactive 1:1 education modules are an effective and innovative method for fall prevention education and highlight the importance of client-centered treatment.

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