By: Erin Lynn, Senior, Blue Valley High
My CAPStone group decided to initially tackle dementia risk factors, and we started to focus on preventing traumatic brain injuries in older patients by addressing fall risk. Our public health initiative was focused on decreasing fall risk in the senior population by distributing pill organizers and flyers and stickers with information on proper medication intake practices and helpful information addressing concerns the senior population might have with their medications.
We knew as a group that we wanted to help the elderly population with our public health initiative. Initially our focus was dementia because many of us personally knew people who had been affected by dementia. After doing research and discovering amongst our target audience how important fall prevention is, we decided to completely focus on that aspect of the original design question. We wanted to narrow our topic in order to create the greatest impact. Our goal was to educate seniors on what medications to be cautious of and how to manage medications safely.
We worked with Dr. Wynn Rajan and Dr. Shelley Bhattacharya through Zoom. Dr. Rajan had gone through our original design question with us, and he educated us on the impact of fall risk. He helped us realize that it would be best if we focused our question to discuss the specific topic of fall risk. He also gave us the idea to distribute pill organizers which was more feasible and cheaper than our original prototype. Dr. Bhattacharya is a geriatrician. She checked over our flyer and gave us the idea to create stickers as well. She told us what information would not be helpful and how it might overwhelm the seniors. She also gave us additional helpful information, such as the fact that seniors over the age of 65 shouldn’t take benadryl because it greatly increases fall risk. Their feedback helped guide our project in such a way that we could create the greatest impact with the time we had.
After consulting with our stakeholders, we compiled a list of facts that we included in our flyer and stickers. After creating and organizing all of this, we went to a retirement community and distributed pill organizers that we had fundraised for through Go-Fundme. We explained all of the information and got feedback from the individuals we presented to in order to assess our impact. Many individuals learned something new about their medications and found our presentation helpful.