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Maine-based Ambulance Service to Provide Free, In-home Fall Assessments by Community Paramedics

LEWISTON, Maine — United Ambulance Service has been in operation since 1981 and since that time has responded to thousands of emergency calls that involved patient falls. In some of these instances fall injury patterns were very minor in nature, while in other cases the trauma sustained was very serious, if not life threatening.

Over the course of the past few decades, United like other health care organizations, has tried many approaches to share public health information to educate the general public regarding the potential risks associated with simple patient falls while in their home or in the community. In reviewing these efforts, it was decided that more needed to be done to help educate community members about fall risks and the simple strategies that can be implemented within the home to prevent potentially life-changing falls from occurring.

Over the past year, United Ambulance Service has been working hard to create a fall prevention initiative for community members throughout the organization's service area.

This service is part of United's Home Visit Program, a new program that is slated to be released later this year. With this program, a patient is referred to United by their primary care practitioner for a free, in-home fall assessment by one of United's community paramedics. The visit takes place within the patient's home and consists of a fall assessment, which is complete with reviewing simple interventions that may assist the patient toward decreasing the likelihood of falls within their home or while out in the community.

This information is then shared with the patient's PCP so that they are aware of any challenges associated with patient mobility within the home. The PCP can utilize this information to have a better understanding of how a patient's mobility is affecting their activities of daily living.

"We are glad that this program will soon be available within our community to assist individuals in staying free from injury associated with simple and complex falls" stated Brad Gilbert, the Development & Compliance Manager for United.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one- third of people 65 and older sustain a fall each year and of these cases, one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as head trauma or a fracture.

Over the next few months, United will be working to distribute additional information regarding the Home Visit Program, which includes the fall prevention initiative as well as other basic in- home health education and assessment services. The service will be available Monday through Friday by scheduled appointment and will only be available for patients who are referred to United by their PCP.

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