Occupational therapy practitioners empower aging baby-boomers with community mobility options
BETHESDA, MD (Nov. 19, 2019) — As baby boomers enter the over 65 age bracket at an alarming rate (10,000 each day), the concern for older drivers’ safety and independence is greater now than at any time in our history. Adults 65 and older make up more than 16% of all drivers, nationwide. And the numbers are growing as baby-boomers age. By 2040, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will be 70 or older.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) along with several national transportation, safety, and aging organizations are raising awareness of ways to keep older drivers safe on the road through AOTA’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 2-6, 2019).
Held annually on the first week of December, the campaign raises awareness of the growing population of older adults and their transportation needs. Each day covers a theme critical to empowering older drivers and their families:
- Monday, Dec. 2: Anticipating Changes That Can Affect Driving. As part of the natural aging process, most people experience physical, cognitive, and sensory changes that can affect driving. Being in tune with these changes is the first step to remaining safe.
- Tuesday, Dec. 3: Family Conversations. The holidays are a great time to bring up a loved one’s driving safety. Waiting until an accident happens can leave the driver feeling as if he or she needs to defend themselves. Planning ahead is the most successful way to maintain independence.
- Wednesday, Dec. 4: Screening and Evaluations With an Occupational Therapist. Driving fitness evaluations range from self-assessments, which can be useful educational tools to help identify potential challenges, to a comprehensive driving evaluation from an occupational therapy driving rehabilitation specialist.
- Thursday, Dec. 5: Interventions That Can Empower Drivers and Families. Often times, suggestions made during a driver evaluation go beyond minor mirror or seat adjustments and may involve the use of adaptive equipment or vehicle modification.
- Friday, Dec. 6: Staying Engaged in the Community With or Without a Car. If a driver feels that they need to limit or stop driving, they may fear a loss of independence or life of isolation. There are many resources available to help older drivers maintain their quality of life.
“Just as we plan for our financial futures, we need to plan for our transportation futures as we age,” says Elin Schold Davis, OTR/L, CDRS, FAOTA, project coordinator of AOTA’s Older Driver Safety Initiative. “Respecting the physical, cognitive, and sensory changes that come with age may require adjustments in driving patterns, vehicle equipment, or a skills refresher, but do not have to mean giving up the keys and living in isolation without access to transportation. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is dedicated to building awareness of the growing array of options available to seniors to support their goal of driving safety and maintaining an active lifestyle. Occupational therapists certified in driver rehabilitation offer drivers an individualized evaluation to explore the range of solutions to stay on the road safely and confidently.”
To learn more, visit www.aota.org/driver-safety or follow #ODSAW19. Each day, representatives from national safety and aging organizations will share answers throughout the day to a daily focus question pertaining to the day’s theme, following #ODSAW19.
Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 213,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting professional and educational standards, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. www.aota.org.
UNC Trauma and UNC Chatham are hosting a CarFit program on October 11th from 10AM – 2 PM. Read this Chatham News & Record article to learn from our injury prevention coordinator how CarFit can benefit you or a senior you love by keeping you safe and independent on the road. Email Lindsay Bailey at Lindsay.email@example.com to registerDownload PDF
Programs Include Stop the Bleed Training, Child Safety and EMS Education
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2019) – After a rigorous review process, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma has selected 20 pediatric trauma grant projects from communities across the U.S. to receive funding. The recipients are from 13 different states and the projects cover a range of pediatric trauma prevention and safety issues, including Stop the Bleed training; child passenger, recreation and sports safety; and emergency professional education.
“The Childress Institute is committed to funding education and safety programs that can improve care for children in communities across America,” said the Childress Institute’s Executive Director Bob Gfeller. “Child safety, EMS education, injury prevention, and pediatric trauma care programs are woefully underfunded, yet traumatic injury is the number one killer of kids in the U.S. Results from all of these well-deserving projects could have a collective impact that can save injured children.”
Below is a complete list of the grant recipients:
- Constance Deering from Los Angeles, for “Brain Health 4Kids”
- Jacob Hall from Madera, Calif., for “Stop the Bleed Training”
- Darcie Bentz from Denver, Colo., for “Pediatric Helmet Safety Campaign”
- Jamie Dugan from Vincennes, Ind., for “Stop the Bleed School Education in 11 Indiana & Illinois Counties”
- Laci Farmer from Hardinsburg, Ky., for “Child Passenger Safety Program”
- Stephanie Booza from Clinton Township, Mich., for “Stop the Bleed School Training Program for Macomb Co. Michigan”
- Michelle Goreth from Jackson, Miss., for “Heads Up Mississippi”
- Valerie Moody from Missoula, Mont., for “Improving Safety in Youth Sports in Montana”
- Lindsay Bailey from Chapel Hill, N.C., for “Helmets for Orange County Kids” and “Special Needs Car Seats for UNC Children’s Hospital”
- Kara Clarke from Concord, N.C., for “Handtevy Pediatric Resuscitation System”
- Grant Yarbrough from Wilkesboro, N.C., for “Preventing Heat Illness at Wilkes Central High School”
- Brandy Cardwell from Winston-Salem, N.C., “Eye In The Sky: Injury Spotter”
- Salvatore Puglisi, Jr. from Florida, N.Y., for “Teens Stop the Bleed”
- Laura Strickland from Conway, S.C., for “Motor Vehicle Safety Movement”
- Gyl Switzer from Austin, Texas, for “Safe Storage Saves Lives”
- Weston Davis from El Campo, Texas, for “Pediatric ALS Training Mannequin”
- Gloria Salazar from El Paso, Texas, for “El Paso Borderland Public Health ATV Campaign”
- Michael Stanford from Leavenworth, Wash., for “Stop The Bleed Kits at Summer Youth Camps and Schools”
- Deborah Armbruster from De Pere, Wis., for “Bleeding Control Kits”
In May 2019, the Childress Institute announced the availability of funds for community projects focused on improving safety and treatment for pediatric trauma patients. The Institute recently awarded Stop the Bleed grants to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Oregon Health and Science University, and Vidant Medical Center. In 2018, community grants were awarded to T.J. Bishop (Handtevy EMS education in Chelan, Washington), Kari Cheezum (Stop the Bleed in Salisbury, Maryland), Keito Ortiz (Stop the Bleed in Jamaica, New York), Splash Medics (water safety in Menifee, California), Team Safe Sports (sports safety in Dallas, Texas), UT Southwestern (head injury education for EMS in Dallas, Texas), and Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Brenner Children’s Hospital (child passenger and bike helmet safety for Winston-Salem, North Carolina).
For media inquiries, please contact:
Childress Institute: Kara Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org , (336) 491-9766
About the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma
Life threatening injury is the No. 1 killer of kids in America. More than 10,000 children lose their lives every year from serious injuries. In addition, almost 300,000 children are hospitalized and over 8 million children are treated in the emergency department for serious injuries each year, many of whom struggle with long-term recoveries and disabilities. It can happen anywhere, at any time, to any child. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma discovers and shares the best ways to prevent and treat severe injuries in children. The Institute funds research, education and advocacy to help improve the care and treatment injured kids receive across the U.S. The Childress Institute was founded at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in 2008 through a generous gift from Richard and Judy Childress. Visit www.SaveInjuredKids.org to learn more.
(336) 713-1625 Work
(336) 491-9766 Cell
Pilot Program Yields Positive Results
America Walks is deeply troubled by the sharp increase in pedestrian fatalities over the last decade. Last year, 6,227 pedestrians were killed.
This was up from almost 6,000 in 2017 and the largest number since 1990. Seniors, people of color and low-income individuals are at greatest risk – over twice as likely to be killed. In 2018, we partnered with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (UNC HSRC) to launch the Safer Systems program. The program focused on creating the local and regional capacities to assess, plan, and prioritize effective and context-sensitive pedestrian safety countermeasures, and to increase a community’s sense of urgency for changing built environment decisions. Twelve communities participated in the year-long program, which consisted of a series of online learning modules and guided work on a pedestrian safety plan.
America Walks is excited about the work being done in these communities to improve safety for all vulnerable road users. Below is a sampling of their accomplishments to celebrate their success and inspire action in other communities across the US.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Town of Chapel Hill’s participation in the Safer Systems program was part of a larger effort to eliminate pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. In the fall of 2018, the Chapel Hill team, led by the Transportation Division, convened a stakeholder group to provide policy, technical, and design recommendations that contribute to pedestrian safety
“The Road to Zero program and its safe systems approach gave us new ideas and new tools for assessing and treating pedestrian safety concerns in town.”
and mobility with the ultimate goal of having zero pedestrian traffic fatalities on Chapel Hill roads. The group includes representatives from a variety of agencies and organizations that work with different populations and provide diverse perspectives, such as the Orange County Department of Health, SafeKids, and the Orange County Coalition to End Homelessness.
Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, NC
They conducted public outreach at various events and used that data, as well as crash data, to inform their safety improvement and program and policy recommendations. All of their work culminated in the development of a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The plan will guide their work in improving pedestrian safety in the Town of Chapel Hill. The stakeholder group will continue to meet occasionally to share ideas and resources over the coming years.
When asked about their overall experience with the program, Bergen Watterson, Transportation Planning Manager at the Town of Chapel Hill and the Safer Systems team lead stated, “The Road to Zero program and its safe systems approach gave us new ideas and new tools for assessing and treating pedestrian safety concerns in town. The interagency task force and pedestrian safety action plan that we created as part of the program will be integral to continuing efforts to make Chapel Hill a place with zero pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries.”
The Flint team was headed by Crim Fitness Foundation. America Walks has had the pleasure of working with representatives from Crim Fitness Foundation before as Theresa Roach was a 2018 Walking College Fellow. They kicked off their work by convening a Traffic Taming Task Force, comprised of residents from several neighborhoods, to gather input concerning local traffic and safety of vulnerable road users. The Flint team also coordinated Walk to School Day events at four schools in October 2018 and used those opportunities to discuss walkability with parents and school staff.
“Our data collections show that a large number of people, about 25% are NOT conforming to the 25mph limit making all residents and visitors unsafe.”
After consulting with Department of Public Works, the Flint team purchased a speed radar sign to install on different residential streets on a rotating basis. The sign tracks traffic volume and speed and can be used for traffic calming, as well. They are collecting preand post-implementation data. Kate Cole, a resident
A Street in Flint, MI by Michigan Municipal League
of one of the neighborhoods where the sign has been placed describes how “at 2 p.m. in the afternoon you may find children, and adults walking or biking, feeling safe because they are in their own neighborhood. But our data collections show that a large number of people, about 25% are NOT conforming to the 25 mph limit making all residents and visitors unsafe.”
The sign will be held at each location for a total of twelve weeks before being moved to a different neighborhood. As of June 2019, they have had eight neighborhoods request to be added to the sign’s rotation schedule.
Through their Road to Zero work, the Traffic Taming Task Force was able to connect with new organizations and agencies. For example, the City of Flint Planning Department began inviting the group to their public forums concerning neighborhood planning projects.
Representatives from the Richmond City Health Department participated in the Safer Systems program. Sarah Shaughnessy, Community Health Planner, led their efforts and recently wrote a blog post for America Walks describing their work, both with the program and the City’s Vision Zero Initiative. Shaughnessy also adds that “participating the Road to Zero program encouraged me to think about how to develop the health department’s role in bike and pedestrian planning and gave me the opportunity to connect with and learn from others across the country who are doing the same.”
“Participating in the Road to Zero program…gave me the opportunity to connect with and learn from others across the country…”
Last fall the Richmond team attended a Walk to School Day event at one of Richmond’s Safe Routes to School program schools and worked with Fit4Kids, their partner organization, to pass out prizes to students who arrived by active transportation. The Richmond team’s safety plan involved building a database of crash data and transportation-related health and equity metrics for in-house data and policy analysis. They worked with an intern at a local university (VCU) to compile the database, which currently exists in excel and in ArcMap and is available for future analysis. They also created a set of maps to show bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular crashes in relation to a vulnerability index developed by the state department of health called the Health Opportunity Index. These maps will soon be published on their organization’s Culture of Health Website.
A Walking School Bus in Richmond, VA
Throughout the program, the Richmond team strengthened not only strengthened existing relationships but also built new partnerships with several organizations and agencies, including the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the City of Richmond Department of Public Works, which also employs the City’s Vision Zero Coordinator.
America Walks would like to thank the National Safety Council and Road to Zero Coalition for providing funding for the Safer Systems program.
Community profiles were co-written by Bergen Watterson, Transportation Planning Manager at the Town of Chapel Hill, Cade Surface, Program Coordinator at Crim Fitness Foundation, Kate Cole, Flint resident, and Sarah Shaughnessy, Community Health Planner at Richmond City Health Department. Many thanks to them for their time and effort.
Greetings to you all,
In service as Chair and on behalf of the State Trauma Advisory Committee’s (STAC) Injury Prevention Subcommittee, I am writing this letter to formally voice opposition to some recently filed legislation, Senate Bill 566 (SB566) and House Bill (HB615), short titled, the NC Consumer Fireworks Safety Act. It is the wish of the injury prevention professionals from each of the 14 Trauma Centers represented in this committee that this legislation as proposed not be permitted to reach approval/become law in our state.
It is of great concern to our committee that passing such legislation will result in an increase of fireworks related injuries, deaths, and hospital costs across North Carolina. Our perspective is based on studies that show increased fireworks-related injuries in states that have loosened their restriction on fireworks laws. Since 2008, six additional states have legalized discharge of consumer grade fireworks and during that time serious injuries in those states increased by 75%.
In 2018, 191 North Carolina residents visited an emergency department due to a firework related injury, and during 2017 and 2018 the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center admitted 33 patients due to fireworks related injuries.. Eight of these patients were under the age of 16. The average hospital cost of burn patients at the NC Jaycee Burn Center during that time period was over $62,000 per patient, which means hospital costs for these 33 patients was an estimated $2 million total. The cost and frequency of fireworks related injuries in North Carolina is already too high, and if this bill were to be approved we can expect to see a significant increase in both. Although the proposed bill includes tax revenue language based on the sales of these “consumer fireworks”, those proposed monies simply do not equate to the real cost of hospital bills and the emotional cost for those who have lost someone or been injured in a fireworks related injury.
Please join the State Trauma Advisory Committee for Injury Prevention in opposition to SB 566 and HB 615. Reach out to your local legislators and voice your concerns.
STAC Injury Prevention Subcommittee Chair
Chances are you know someone who has fallen or who is afraid of falling. A Matter of Balance is a proven program designed to help people manage concerns about falls and increase physical activity. Southern Maine Agency on Aging is looking for volunteers to help provide this program.
This program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls.
Participants learn to:
- view falls as controllable
- set goals for increasing activity
- make changes to reduce fall risks at home
- exercise to increase strength and balance
Classes are held twice a week for 4 weeks for 2 hours each.
Coaches help participants become more confident about managing falls, help to identify ways to reduce falls, and lead exercises to help increase strength and balance.
What do you need to be a coach?
- good communication and interpersonal skills
- enthusiasm, dependability and a willingness to lead small groups of older adults
- ability to lead low to moderate level exercise
When: August 19th & 20th from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Where: UNC Wellness Center Meadowmont
Presented by UNC Trauma Program
To Register Please Contact Lindsay Bailey at 984-974-2437 or Lindsay.email@example.com
The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center Donates 350 Fire Extinguishers to Families in Need
A fire in Efland, North Carolina launched an idea for fire safety classes that eventually grew to a collaboration between the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, Orange County Fire Marshal and Safe Kids that culminated in community education and donation of life-saving fire extinguishers.
In January 2018 an accidental fire broke out at a home in the Tinnin Woods neighborhood, located in Efland, North Carolina. A fire that began on the outside of the home, spread quickly to the inside, leaving behind a few walls and destroying the property of a family who could ill afford it. The fire and its destruction rocked the small community who thought the smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in their homes were protection enough against something like this happening. Tinnin Woods is a small neighborhood of homes built for and by families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, which works to change lives by bringing together people and resources to help families build and own quality affordable homes in safe and supportive communities.
“There was an outpouring of compassion from the community and Habitat to help the family who lost their home in the fire,” said Marisa Martini, Community Development Manager for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, NC. “Simultaneously homeowners in our neighborhoods started asking questions about how they could protect their homes and families from this type of tragedy.”
Neighbors and other homeowners quickly came together to support the family affected by organizing a food and donation drive to help address some of the family’s immediate needs. The Habitat Homeowner Planning Committee, a group of homeowners who meet biweekly to discuss community concerns, plan events, and volunteer their time and efforts to help improve their community, led this effort and then involved Martini, to plan fire safety classes.
Martini coordinated with the Orange County Fire Marshal, Jason Shepherd, and his team, as well as the Efland Volunteer Fire Department, Chapel Hill Fire Marshal, and Orange County Emergency Services to conduct fire safety classes. During the classes, held earlier this summer, homeowners learned about common fire hazards, smoke detectors, how to make a fire escape plan, and how to use a fire extinguisher. The events were educational for adults and kids alike since they had a chance to meet firefighters, ask questions, and explore a fire truck.
At the class held in Efland participants had the unique opportunity to use a fire extinguisher first hand. “We bring our fire extinguisher system with us when we teach fire safety classes,” said Shepherd. “It involves our team, that included Assistant Fire Marshals David Sikes and Elizabeth Farnan, creating a controlled fire that people can then practice using fire extinguishers on so they can get confident using one in a real fire.”
There was just one problem, participants were learning how to use a fire extinguisher, a major component of the fire safety class, but few families owned one. Marisa reached out to a former colleague, Lindsay Bailey, whom she attended school with at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and who is the coordinator of Safe Kids Orange County. Safe Kids is an international nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from preventable injuries. Safe Kids Orange County, the local coalition chapter, works with a network of partners to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, and poisonings. Representatives include several local Fire Departments, local law enforcement, public health, Orange County Department of Social Services, Orange County Public Schools, Orange County Emergency Services Head Start, Habitat for Humanity, and other child-focused community organizations. They organize events throughout the year to address child safety concerns including Fire Safety.
“During our recent home safety presentation to Orange County Head Start parents, the fire marshal’s office did a presentation on using a fire extinguisher; and it was then we found out that none of the 20 parents who attended the class owned one,” Bailey explained. “We realized there was a big gap that we wanted to help fill. When Marisa reached out to me around the same time, I realized this was an important issue not just for the parents associated with Safe Kids but also others in the community in need such as the Habitat homeowners.”
In her other role, Bailey is the Injury Prevention Coordinator for the UNC Health Care Trauma Program, where she works on projects with Dr. Earnest Grant, RN, MSN, FAAN. Dr. Grant is the Program Manager for Outreach and Education at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Health Care, one of the largest and most comprehensive burn centers in the world with a 36-bed facility for adult and pediatric care. Through its education and outreach programs, the Burn Center works diligently to improve the quality of emergency burn treatment across the state. “I reached out to Dr. Grant to see if he knew of a grant or resource that would allow us to provide fire extinguishers to families in the community,” said Lindsay.
“In 2017 we were awarded a FEMA Fire Grant that we used to teach the community fire and burn safety,” explains Dr. Ernest Grant. “When Lindsay reached out to me for suggestions, we thought it was a fortuitous opportunity to use the funds to purchase fire extinguishers for members of the community willing to attending fire safety classes.”
The FEMA Fire Grant allowed The Jaycee Burn Center to purchase 350 fire extinguishers which they donated to the North Carolina Community. Some of the fire extinguishers were distributed to the each of the participants that attended the fire safety classes in Efland and Chapel Hill as well as to the parents who attended the Safe Kids class. The remaining fire extinguishers will be distributed at community events and will be kept at the Fire Marshal’s office to be distributed during Habitat’s new home dedications and home inspections when needed. “The burn center has a philosophy – the best way to treat a burn is to prevent it from happening. We feel that the donation to these families has the power to do just that,” said Dr. Grant.
Parents, pet owners need to prepare for interactions between children, dogs
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Dogs are often times a much loved and trusted part of families, but some dogs have a history of aggressive behavior, which can be especially concerning when young children are involved.
Pediatric surgeons at UNC Hospitals say they are seeing an increase in the number of life-threatening encounters between dogs and kids.
Last November, the Wells family, from Statesville, was one of them.
The family was visiting friends in Raleigh when Ryder, a toddler just shy of his second birthday, went into the backyard of a home where two Rottweiler dogs were being kept.
Moments later, Brittany Wells looked outside and saw that her son was in trouble.
“I saw him lying, and it was, ‘Oh my God, he’s in trouble,'” Brittany Wells said. “This happened within minutes.”
The dogs attacked Ryder, breaking his arm and doing severe damage to his left eye, nose and jaw.
Ryder was one of nine children treated for severe dog bite injuries last year at UNC Hospitals. That was almost twice as many cases as the hospital saw in 2014.
Of pediatric dog bite patients 10 years and younger, about 68 percent treated from 2010 to 2015 were under five years old.
UNC says it’s cases are still trending up so far in 2016, including one attack that resulted in a death.
“We’re not talking about nips to the arm or the face,” UNC pediatric surgeon Kimberly Erickson said.
Erickson said dog attacks often cause severe tissue injury because dogs drag children, throwing them back and forth in movements that cause major tears and puncture wounds.
Dr. Barbara Sherman, with the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, counsels families on how to manage their pets around children. She says owners must know if their dog has a history of aggression.
“The closer the toddler gets, especially that eye-to-eye contact, dogs find that very threatening,” Sherman said.
Sherman says dogs with a history of aggression should be “carefully managed and separated from any interactions with children.”
Parents should also work to teach children about the risks of interacting with dogs without creating a phobia of them. Other tips include managing the entry ways to the home, places which are the highest risk areas for dogs and kids to interact.
And children should never approach a dog they don’t know, even if it’s on a leash.
Sherman says aggression isn’t limited to a specific breed of dog.
“I think it’s really best to consider that any dog can bite and that we need to apply general rules of safety for children, regardless of the breed,” she said.
Ryder is healing from his injuries, but he will still need several surgeries to repair his jaw and face. For now, he’s using sign language to communicate.
UNC surgeons say they hope his story can help prevent others like it.
“We would love it if we never saw another horrendous dog bite here again,” Erickson said. “That would be our ultimate goal.”