$1 million grant allows Barrow to launch new initiative
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has awarded Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center $1 million to establish a medical center dedicated exclusively to researching and preventing falls.
The new Parsons Fall Research & Prevention Center will focus on identifying patterns in accidental falls, the leading cause of injury-related deaths among older adults.
According to the RAND Corporation, direct medical costs associated with accidental falls in 2012 alone approached $40 billion. The Emergency Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center receives approximately 5,000 fall-related visits each year, and it’s estimated that a third of these patients are at risk of falling again.
“Our goal in founding the center is to establish a way to systematically evaluate the neurological impetus for falls; identify and interpret patterns and triggers; and develop predictive mechanisms to lessen the risk of future episodes,” said the center’s Medical Director Abraham Lieberman, MD.
Although falls are an issue across many medical conditions, the new Parsons Fall Research & Prevention Center will focus primarily on patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders. The new center, which will open later this month, will be located within the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow.
“Approximately one out of two people over the age of 65 fall each year,” Dr. Lieberman continued. “For those with Parkinson’s disease, that number is closer to two out of three.”
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation’s grant will enable Barrow to hire additional staff, including dedicated physicians and nurses who will not only evaluate patients in the clinic setting, but will also compile critical data as patients come into the emergency room. The grant will also fund the purchase of essential equipment including a trans-cranial magnetic stimulator. In time, the center will offer new techniques and therapies to help monitor and improve gait and balance.
“Ultimately it is our hope that, through the center, the talented neurological team at Barrow will be able to determine the root cause for falls and help to reduce or eliminate the risk of recurrence for those affected,” said entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons.