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CHAMP screenings to improve balance to begin March 5

BOONE—To help older adults learn how to prevent falls, Appalachian State University’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services will begin offering free monthly CHAMP screenings at two locations in Watauga County beginning in March.

View larger imageScreenings by a nurse and physical therapist in Appalachian State University’s CHAMP program can help improve strength, balance and mobility to help older individuals avoid falls and stay active. Local screenings begin March 5. (Photo courtesy of CHAMP)

CHAMP stands for Community Health and Mobility Partnership. This partnership between Appalachian State University and the community is designed to improve strength, balance and mobility to help older individuals avoid falls and stay independent and active for life. The screenings will be conducted by a nurse and physical therapist who will identify participants at risk for falls and provide individualized fall prevention recommendations.

Area health care practitioners or home health workers are encouraged to refer patients to this service.

Monthly assessments will be held for the general public at both Appalachian Brian Estates and the L.E. Harrill Senior Center in Boone. To set up an appointment for a screening, call Carol Cook at 828-262-7674.

Appalachian Brian Estates will host screenings from 1 – 4:30 p.m. on these dates: March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. You do not have to be a resident to schedule an appointment. Appalachian Brian Estates is located at 163 Shadowline Dr. in Boone.

The L.E. Harrill Senior Center will host screenings from 8 a.m. to noon on these dates: March 27, April 24, May 22, June 26, July 24, Aug. 28, Sept.18, Oct. 23 and Nov. 20. The center is located in the Watauga County Human Services Building at 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A.

Who should participate? Anyone who:

  • Wants to reduce individual risk factors for falls
  • Wants to improve strength, balance or mobility
  • Needs instruction in specific home exercises to help maintain fitness and independence
  • Has concerns about balance or walking
  • Needs advice about assistive devices, such as walkers and canes
  • Has had one or more falls

CHAMP was initiated in McDowell County in 2009 as a two-year collaborative research project with Dr. Vicki Mercer at UNC, with Baxter International Foundation serving as the founding sponsor. It is a modified form of the Otago Exercise Programme, which has been proven to result in a 35 percent reduction in falls and fall related injuries.

CHAMP is sponsored by a collaboration of Watauga County agencies, including the L. E. Harrill Senior Center, Appalachian Brian Estates, Appalachian’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services in the College of Health Sciences, the Physician’s Assistant Program at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and the university’s Department of Nursing, Department of Sociology, and gerontology and athletic training programs.

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