Essentia Health patients to participate in first of its kind fall prevention study

By KBJR News 1

June 11, 2014 Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 8:52 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Essentia Health in Duluth will be taking part in a nationwide study hoping to prevent seniors from falling.

The first of its kind study will look at which seniors are at the highest risk of falling and how to prevent those falls.

6,000 seniors across the country will be studied. Six hundred of those patients will be from eight Essentia sites in the Northland.

Researchers say the work is important because it engages the patient and will find practical solutions to preventing falls.

"Because what happens in research is sometimes it looks good theoretically, but it doesn't always work well when you try to implement that into a healthcare system," said Dr. Steve Waring, a Senior Research Scientist at Essentia Health, "It's impossible to prevent all falls, but the goal, the primary outcome that we're looking at, is serious fall."

Waring says he believes part of the reason Essentia was picked is because of its location in a primarily rural area, bringing perspective to a study whose research sites are mainly urban.

"Much of the population that we serve here with Essentia Health is rural," Waring said, "So what may work in an urban setting because of community partnerships and networks and all may be a lot different in rural settings."

The study will begin enrolling patients in June of next year.