Farewell to Falls is a home-based falls prevention program offered for free by Stanford Healthcare. The program includes a medication review, a home safety assessment and the provision of an exercise plan. The program consists of 3 total home visits conducted by Registered Occupational Therapists. The exercises provided are from the Otago Exercise Program which is an evidenced-based program of 17 strength and balance exercises. The program progresses participants over the course of 6-12 months.
Farewell to Falls provides two home visits by a Registered Occupational Therapist, who will:
Gather information about health history and daily living skills.
Complete a balance and mobility assessment.
Get a list of all medications to be reviewed by a pharmacist.
Do a complete home safety survey.
Recommend fall risk methods and introduce an exercise program.
A third visit will be made one year after enrollment.
During the 10-11 month period between the second visit by the Occupational Therapist and the third visit, participants are contacted via telephone calls by trained volunteers to follow-up on exercises/recommendations provided by the Occupational Therapist.
In these follow-up phone calls, participants are asked about their follow-through with the recommended exercise program. The volunteer can respond to questions and modify exercises as needed (i.e. increasing or decreasing difficulty). While these phone calls are helpful, they are definitely not as impactful as a home visit or in-person exercise modification/review. Unfortunately, providing monthly in-home visits to each participant is not feasible.
The Farewell to Falls program could benefit from online "face-to-face" conversations with seniors in order to work together on their exercise program. We are proposing a pilot program using tablets to support this function. While the program is supporting 100+ participants, we would focus on targeting 15-20 participants who would be comfortable being trained on and using tablets. The tablet would be provided to the older adult participant at the end of their second visit and training could be provided by the Occupational Therapist on how to use the device at this time. Volunteers could then contact the participant via Skype to conduct the monthly follow-up sessions. The OT would retrieve the tablet at the third and final visit.
The expected outcome:
The goal of the program is to prevent future falls. With the addition of tablets to enhance follow-ups in between the home visits, the idea is to increase the effectiveness of the program by encouraging follow-through with the Otago exercise program.