CANTON  Mercy Medical Center has been named the recipient of the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership’s (OIPP) 2017 Promising Practice Award for the hospital’s grant-funded Older Adult Fall Prevention Program, led by Mercy Emergency Services.

The award was presented to Mercy’s Andy Bolgiano, RN, paramedic/EMS outreach coordinator, and Joyce Himebaugh, trauma program manager, at the OIPP’s annual meeting.

The hospital’s initiative includes screening all patients over the age of 65 who come to the emergency department and urgent care facilities with the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) assessment. Those who score a 4 or greater on the assessment receive a fall prevention follow-up packet, as well as communication with patients’ primary care physicians. Some also are offered a home safety inspection by local fire departments, which supply night lights, rug tape, and bathroom grab bars, if necessary.

In 2017 Mercy began offering free physical therapy assessments to qualified patients in the hospital’s Older Adult Fall Prevention Program. The physical therapy assessment includes a review of balance deficits, fall history, and muscle and balance tests to help determine appropriate follow-up recommendations and care, if appropriate.

"This program helps Mercy make a tangible impact in our community with falls—one of the leading causes of injury and death among the elderly," Bolgiano said in a news release. "We want to do more than treat people after a fall; we want to prevent falls before they happen as often as possible. With this program, we are making measurable strides."

Mercy has received two consecutive annual grants for this program from the OIPP through the Ohio Older Adults Falls Prevention Coalition.

The OIPP is a statewide group of professionals representing a broad range of agencies and organizations concerned with the prevention of injury. The group is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury and violence prevention programs and works to provide a coordinated statewide effort for injury prevention programming.