I have been a member of the Community Church of Chapel Hill for over 15 years. As a PT, I have occasionally visited church members in the hospital to help out if needed, I have adjusted a few canes over the years, and even seen a few members as patients in the clinic. However, over the past year or two in particular, a troubling trend of falls and injuries among members of my church began to ring alarm bells in my head.
I discussed the problem with my co-worker Matthew Harwood DPT, PT, OCS and he was quick to come up with a comprehensive screening program to determine balance problems and calculate fall risk. Our newest staff member Nancy Toole PT, was happy to jump in when she learned of our plan to implement a balance and fall risk screen at the church.
I guessed we would have about 6 to 10 folks, but printed out extra forms, just in case. With the help of the church caring committee – who know all too well the awful consequences of falls on our church members, WE WERE SWAMPED! We got through 16 screens in about 2 hours. We identified some folks who were unaware they were at, or close to values consistent with the likelihood of a fall in the next year. After discussing specifics about individual performance on the screen and the related risk of falling, we also provided options for local activities and services available to help. Click here for our list of community resources.
We won’t know if the screening last week will prevent future falls, but something in my head said “This is a need, and you are filling it”. Nancy, Matthew and I were so pleased to be able to provide this community service in hopes of preventing falls. If you have a large group, and would like us to come in to perform free balance screening, just give us a call at the clinic (919) 932-7266 and we will try to accommodate your request.