The number of fall-related injuries reported in Ontario are astonishing.
A report released in 2012 by the Ontario Injury Research Centre, based on data from 2007 to 2009, put the number of visits to Ontario hospitals due to falls at just more than 750,000. According to the data, those visits accounted for about 72,000 hospital admissions.
These are the kind of statistics that echo through research that Phuc Dang is completing for her master’s degree in Applied Health Sciences. Dang’s study focuses on understanding referral linkages that exist among fall prevention agencies in Niagara.
The research is being conducted in partnership with Health Nexus and the Fall Prevention Network of Niagara. The organizations approached Dang’s supervisor, Madelyn Law, about working with them to map out the scope of services in Niagara and how people access those services. Their goal is to apply Dang’s research to improve strategic planning in the region for fall prevention.
Dang is in the final stages of her analysis of the network of services and providers in Niagara - both primary care and public health organizations.
From the pages of her thesis, Dang will develop a summary report for the agencies. The report will provide a picture of how the system works now and list key recommendations on how it could improve.
“When you stop to think about the number of occurrences of falls-related injuries and the needs of an aging population to prevent falls, it’s important to have in a place a seamless referral and delivery of services,” says Dang. “The research has been a great opportunity for me to combine my academic work with a community project that contributes to health and well-being.”
Some of the key recommendations that Dang expects to include in the summary report to community agencies are the need to:
• establish an electronic database of fall prevention programs
• develop standardized referral forms
• close the gap in referrals between primary and community care providers by increasing awareness of the range of services available.
Dang will share a preview of her study and findings during Brock’s annual graduate student research conference on Wednesday, April 10. She is one of approximately 125 graduate students who will present research at the Mapping the New Knowledges graduate student research conference. The annual showcase of graduate student research and scholarship will feature oral and poster presentations, the 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Contest, and the presentation of the graduate mentorship awards. Conference events take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plaza 300 and 400 level and the Cairns 300 level. All are welcome.