News Novel Program Gets Injured Seniors Back on Their Feet

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Seton Williamson Launches 65 & Strong Targeted for Region's Growing Senior Population

AUSTIN, Texas - (Jan. 24, 2013) - Persons age 65 and older who have suffered a traumatic injury often take longer to heal than their younger peers. Yet, research shows that the majority of seniors receiving expedited care from a comprehensive team of medical specialists will return to their pre-injury state.

A new program of the Seton Medical Center Williamson Trauma Center called 65 & Strong is addressing the particular needs of older patients who may suffer serious injuries by providing customized treatment, mobility and prevention care plans.

65 & Strong includes specific procedures designed for seniors across the continuum of care, from the time the emergency service provider calls the trauma center through to treatment and rehabilitation including:

  • A specially trained multi-disciplinary team of trauma, orthopedics, rehabilitation, case management, respiratory care, nutrition and pharmacy experts.
  • Early and expedited resuscitation and operation, when required.
  • Early mobility exercises.
  • Collaboration with emergency medical service providers (EMS) to provide safety assessments of patients' home environment.
  • Free balance and strength reconditioning programs as well as educational workshops.

"For an older adult, a traumatic injury may cause other life-threatening complications or limit full recovery, affecting patients and their caregivers' quality of life," said Dr. Drue N. Ware, medical director for the Seton Medical Center Williamson Trauma Center.

Last year, more than 80 percent of seniors treated in the Seton Williamson Trauma Center were injured as a result of a fall, the most common cause of traumatic injury for individuals 65 years and older.

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"We recognized an unmet need in the community, namely, to provide personalized care and resources that promote active, healthy lifestyles for seniors, one of the fastest growing populations in our region," Melanie Fox, vice president, chief operating officer/chief nursing officer of Seton Medical Center Williamson.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 Williamson County's population grew by 4.8 percent, one of the largest increases in the country. The 65 and older population jumped from 7.3 percent of the population in 2000 to 9.3 percent in 2011 and is predicted to grow as the baby boomer population ages.

According to The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, up to 85 percent of senior patients will return to independent function with an aggressive approach to care.

Dr. Ware commented, "Expedited and comprehensive treatment, not limited to the specific injury, can help identify the underlying illness that might have caused the fall or complication, and get patients back on their feet."

Preventing traumatic injury before it happens is another key component of 65 & Strong and will include programs such as: drug interaction consultation to determine if a medication may cause dizziness or instability, home environment assessments using the Physical Environment Assessment Tool (PEAT) score provided by EMS to address conditions that could lead to future injuries, and free Matter of Balance fall prevention workshops designed to improve balance, flexibility and strength.

Said Dr. Ware, "Our goal is to not only treat the injury but to also find out why the patient fell and how we can prevent it from happening again."

Seton Medical Center Williamson was the region's first state-designated Level II Trauma Center, the highest level of trauma care in the county, offering advanced capabilities and specialized medical staff 24-hours/seven days per week.

To find out more about 65 & Strong or to sign up for a Matter of Balance training, contact 512-324-4360.

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