Study recommends better coordination of elder services
The Dukes County Health Council (DCHC) elder affairs and rural health scholars advisory committees on October 22 received the results of a study of how Martha's Vineyard might better meet the healthcare needs of the elderly.
The research, conducted by students enrolled in the UMass Worcester Community Health Clerkship 2008 program, concluded that in order to create a safer and healthier environment for seniors, an effort must be made to collaborate between towns and coordinate services.
The study was conducted during a two-week period in September by two Clerkship Program participants who are first-year UMass Worcester medical students and two second-year graduate school of nursing students. During their research visit to Martha's Vineyard the students conducted two focus group meetings with seniors as well as more than 30 meetings with a wide variety of healthcare providers, public safety officials, and senior advocates across Martha's Vineyard.
According to the study results, presented as a power point presentation in the hospital's staff medical library, the most prevalent health and safety threats to seniors are falls and the injuries that result from falls. Island, state, and national data presented also documented both the cost and frequency of hospital emergency room visits as a result of falls. The CDC estimates that the treatment of someone who has suffered a fall costs, on average, $20,000 and women are 67 percent more likely to fall than men.