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Tai Chi Qigong for Health >> Tai Chi Qigong for Falls Prevention

An Approach to Motivate Healthcare Providers to Adopt Tai Chi and Other Falls Prevention Strategies
August 19, 2016 -
Falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths in older adults and are a growing public health concern. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and British Geriatrics Society (BGS) published guidelines for falls screening and risk reduction, which recommend Tai Chi as one of the exercises. Yet few primary care providers report following any guidelines for falls prevention.

Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University and Oregon State University jointly launched a project that engaged an inter-professional teaching team to support inter-professional clinical teams to reduce fall risk in older adults by implementing the AGS/BGS guidelines.

Twenty-five inter-professional clinical teams with representatives from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work were recruited from ambulatory, long-term care, hospital, and home health settings for a structured intervention: a 4-hour training workshop plus coaching for implementation for 1 year.

The workshop focused on evidence-based strategies to decrease the risk of falls, including screening for falls; assessing gait, balance, orthostatic blood pressure, and other medical conditions; exercise including Tai Chi; vitamin D supplementation; medication review and reduction; and environmental assessment. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using chart reviews, coaching plans and field notes, and post-intervention structured interviews of participants.

Site visits and coaching field notes confirmed uptake of the strategies. Chart reviews showed significant improvement in adoption of all falls prevention strategies except vitamin D supplementation. Long-term care facilities were more likely to address environmental concerns and add Tai Chi classes, and ambulatory settings were more likely to initiate falls screening.

The project demonstrated that inter-professional practice change to target falls prevention can be incorporated into primary care and long-term care settings.

This project is reported by Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in its August 2016 issue.


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