Introduction to Gloria Dei’s Fall Prevention Program

Introduction to Gloria Dei’s Fall Prevention Program

Many of you know that in addition to church secretary, I am also an RN and am currently enrolled at Cal State San Marcos to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and associate’s degree in Registered Nursing, so it is mostly a matter of a few nursing classes to get the second degree, and I hope to be done with this by the end of 2018.  Some of you know that I also completed a certificate program in parish nursing from Concordia University Wisconsin several years ago.  Though we have not had a formal parish nursing program here at Gloria Dei, I have been involved in some of that unofficially through the mercy ministry and making home and hospital visits occasionally.   

The goal of a parish nurse is to promote the health and well-being of the members of the faith community, within a spiritual context and taking spiritual health into account.  This makes parish nurses a little different from a regular home health nurse, for example.  She might pray with you, sing with you, read the Word with you, in addition to trying to help you with your physical well-being.  Parish nurses have a great advantage in helping you in that they see you every week at church, and you share faith and a personal friendship with them.   

I am currently enrolled in a Nursing Leadership class in which we have to initiate a change in a current clinical area, and we have to work with a nursing leader.  My “clinical” site is here at Gloria Dei, as it is a community outreach site to our members and visitors.  I do not have a nursing supervisor here at Gloria Dei, but Margaret Simonsen, the retired parish nurse from Community Lutheran, has agreed to work with me.  

One thing that I have noticed is that our members have had many falls.  These falls have usually occurred at home, and they have been quite debilitating for those who have suffered them.  Falls are a very serious health problem here at Gloria Dei and in the community at large.  The change that I would like to initiate here at Gloria Dei is to set up a formal fall prevention program.   

I have taken a continuing education course in preventing falls in older adults, and I am composing some educational pieces to hand out here at church.  I also would need to make some home visits to some of our members who have fallen or are vulnerable to falls.  Would you be willing to let me come over?   

My fall prevention visit would include a checklist for assessing fall risk, a look at footwear, and an evaluation of your home to see if there are fall risk areas.  I would also take a look at your medication list to see if you are taking some medications that make you at risk for falls.  If you are at risk of falls, I could then make some recommendations and provide you with some resources.  I am using handouts and resources from the CDC’s STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) program.   

This will be a great help to me in my Nursing Leadership class, and I hope that it will help many of you as well.  I hope to keep the program going even after my class ends in late February and improve and add on to it as I gain the time and experience.   

I will be giving some of you a call to see if I can come over and make a fall prevention visit soon.  Or you can let me know if you think this is something you are interested in scheduling with me.  I appreciate your help so much.  You are an amazing church family. 

God bless you, 

Heather

hseierstad@gmail.com