MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine Division of Physical Therapy visited Sundale Rehabilitation – Long Term Care on March 22 to discuss fall risk prevention.
The student pharmacists developed the project as part of the WVU School of Pharmacy’s Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) course. In this service learning class, students create and implement health-related activities to meet the health concerns of communities, as well as objectives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthy People 2020 campaign — a program to improve the health of Americans.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) more than one in three people aged 65 or older falls each year.
“The purpose of this event was to educate the residents and staff at Sundale about the risk of falls for patients in assisted living facilities,” WVU student pharmacist Corey Ritter said.
The students chose to deliver the fall risk information to the residents of Sundale in a way that was fun and would be easy to remember — through games of bingo. The student pharmacists provided facts and helpful tips about preventing falls throughout the games.
“We wanted to stress to residents the importance of staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet to avoid dizziness, as well as provide them with tips on how to avoid falls,” Ritter said.
Tips included checking living areas for potential obstacles such as unsecured rugs, using or installing hand holds for support, wear rubber-soled shoes, using assistance devices such as a walker or cane, and avoiding sitting down quickly and heavily into chairs.
The student pharmacists collaborated with the physical therapy students to provide information to the staff at Sundale about fall risk prevention for the residents under their care. Potential side effects from medications or changes in medications, dizziness from standing suddenly or limited mobility can all play a part in fall risk. The WVU student pharmacists discussed potential medication side effects, and the physical therapy students discussed and demonstrated techniques to help prevent patient falls.
WVU student pharmacist Haley Saville (right) works with Sundale resident Evelyn Anderson.
WVU student pharmacist Rebecca Berhanu (left) works with Sundale resident Mary Stump.
Front row (l-r) WVU student pharmacists Justin Greggi, Haley Saville, Corey Ritter and Rebecca Berhanu. Back row (l-r) WVU physical therapy students Jacob Keeting, Jade Wharton, Hannah Growe, Leigh Comerci, and student pharmacist Paul Cornelius.