Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Part of Study on Falls among Elderly Research Will Take Data from 10 Hospitals across U.S

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Part of Study on Falls among Elderly Research Will Take Data from 10 Hospitals across U.S

Article excerpt

The University of Pittsburgh will participate in a national study on preventing falls among the elderly, one of the leading causes of injury and death in the age group.

The study will follow people age 75 and older who have been identified as being at risk of falling. Of the 6,000 participants nationwide, about 600 will be UPMC patients.

"This is the Manhattan Project of fall injury prevention," Shalender Bahsin said at a teleconference Wednesday. The endocrinologist is one of the leaders of the study, and works at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Nine other hospitals in addition to UPMC will participate in the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute in Washington.

One older adult falls every 29 minutes, according to the study's organizers.

This $30 million, five-year study is innovative in a number of ways, researchers said. Over the last 20 years, a number of studies have clearly identified factors that put an elderly person at risk of falling. There has also been research on methods of fall- prevention, but little of that has been applied to the treatment of elderly patients, the researchers said.

This study will differ from previous research by making the patients partners, they said.

"The patients have concerns you don't know," said Neil Resnick, head of geriatrics at UPMC and one of the organizers of the study.

Some participants in the study will receive specialized intervention and be assigned a "falls care manager," a registered nurse or nurse practitioner who will tailor care to the patients' needs. But even those who will receive standard care will benefit from participating in the study, Dr. Resnick said.

Already, patients and patient advocates have influenced the study design. They encouraged nurses and doctors to check that participants have followed up on referrals. …

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