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Be more careful: a national programme for the prevention of domestic accidents in the elderly
  1. G Paixão von Amann1,
  2. I Silva2
  1. 1Ministry of Health, Directorate General of Health, Portugal
  2. 2MAPFRE Foundation, Portugal

    Abstract

    Background Within the scope of the National Programme for Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention, domestic accidents are a major public health concern. In Portugal, injuries have a prevalence of 75% in people aged 65–74 and 90% in those aged over 75. Most accidents occur at home and falls are their major cause.

    Methodology The Directorate-General of Health in partnership with MAPFRE Foundation established a national capacity-building, step-by-step Plan. The 1st step was the issue of a Guide for the professionals and leaflets for the elderly. The 2nd step consisted of training sessions on ageing and promotion of enabling environments.

    The 3rd step was the implementation of a website, where the Health Centres can record their projects. The 4th step aimed at improving checklists in order to evaluate the house safety conditions, the individual risk of falls and at establishing a daily physical exercise programme. Finally, in the 5th step, a professional Theatre Company performed a plays on prevention of domestic accidents.

    Outcomes All health professionals that attended training sessions acquired special skills and competences. Everyday new projects are emerging from the North down to the South of Portugal. From October 2011 till now (June 2012) wehave register on line 20 projects that are supporting 4800 people aged 65 and more that benefit of health evaluation, home evaluation and training programmes of physical activity.

    Conclusions Although project are quite different from each other, they have in common a diagnosis involving older generations, clear objectives, measurable targets and final evaluation. Elderly supported by the project are MORE CAREFUL and falls reduced significantly. Working with the community, involving public and private partners is crucial for the sustainability of the project.

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