CentraState Healthcare System today announced that the recently approved State budget includes a $250,000 grant for the health system to expand its fall prevention program for seniors. State Senator Vin Gopal championed the appropriation request with his colleagues and legislative leadership in Trenton.
CentraState President and CEO Thomas Scott applauded the importance and timeliness of the award, stating, “Just last year at CentraState Medical Center, more than 3,700 of our emergency department visits were fall-related, with two-thirds of those visits among people over 65.”
“We are grateful for Senator Gopal’s leadership and advocacy,” Scott said. “These critical resources will enable us to purchase equipment that has been proven to reduce falls and fall-related injuries by up to 35 percent.”
Gopal, D-Monmouth, who serves on the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, said he worked with legislators and leadership in Trenton to include funds as part of a coordinated effort to improve the health and well-being of older Americans who are more vulnerable to serious injury.
“Balance becomes more of an issue as we age, and for seniors it can result in life-changing injuries,” Gopal said. “CentraState’s program improves quality of life for seniors while reducing the cost of care that would come later if we fail to prevent these injuries.”
CentraState plans to use the funding to purchase state-of-the-art equipment known as SafeGait. SafeGait allows physical therapists to safely work with at-risk patients on fall prevention strategies by providing a harness to hold the patient upright combined with software that can distinguish between a patient’s intentional movements versus movements associated with a fall. These strategies have been shown to reduce falls and fall-related injuries through improved balance and recovery reaction when falling. It also increases patients’ confidence by reducing fear of falling, which typically leads to a person limiting their activity more and more, creating a negative cycle that can lead to significant disability.