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Current Exploratory Projects

Development and Testing of an Online Evidence-Based Program to Reduce the Fear of Falling in Older Adults

PI: Helen W. Lach, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC; Co-I: Dina L. Jones, PT, PhD                                                                                                                                                                                                             Project Period: 09/15 - 08/16

Falls are a significant public health problem in older adults, and fear of falling is a strong predictor and risk factor for falls. Fear of falling results in avoidance of physical and social activity leading to functional decline, isolation, increased nursing home placement and an increased risk for falling. A Matter of Balance (MOB) was developed as a community-delivered program to specifically address fear of falling in older adults and encourage a healthy fall prevention lifestyle and appropriate activity maintenance. MOB has been tested and disseminated nationally over the past two decades, with significant evidence of its efficacy and effectiveness for reducing risk factors for falls in older adults. While a successful program, it is not available in all communities, particularly rural areas, and some people are not able, or interested in attending a group class. To address this gap, we will translate the MOB program into an online format for older adults to provide a new, innovative way to increase the uptake of fall prevention programming. We will engage key stakeholders including older adults and experts to provide input into the process and product. While there is a digital divide and today’s older adults are less engaged online than other adults, the Baby Boomer generation is aging and will likely decrease this digital gap. The proposed study will address the need for more accessible evidence-based programming to reduce fall risks in the growing aging population.



Feasibility of implementing a computerized adaptive diagnostic screening tool for major depressive disorder (CAD-MDD) to identify patients at risk of suicide in WV emergency departments

PI: Elyce A. Biddle, PhD; Co-I’s: Stephen M. Davis, MSW, MPA; Patrick L. Kerr, PhD; Arnold H. Hassen, PhD
Projecy Period: 11/14-04/16
The risk of suicide related to unrecognized and untreated depression, is a serious public health problem throughout the US and of particular concern to West Virginia, where the rates of suicide are above the national average. A recently developed tool--the computerized adaptive diagnostic screening tool for depression (CAD-MDD), has remarkably high sensitivity (0.95) and specificity (0.87) rates for predicting a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) compared to other tools currently being used in the field. The CAD-MDD will be supplemented with screening questions from the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale; the combined tool (CAD-MDD-S) will identify those patients with suicidal thoughts, intent, plans, and behaviors. The project will explore the methods for WV Emergency Departments (EDs) to operationalize the computerized adaptive diagnostic screening tool for MDD combined with suicidal questions as a secondary suicide prevention strategy. Specifically, the project will identify and assess procedures to implement and operationalize the CAD-MDD in selected West Virginia Emergency Departments as well as determine the associated costs from the EDs’ perspective. The CAD-MDD will be administered to ambulatory patients, those without acute or critical injuries or illnesses, over the age of 17 presenting in each of the emergency facilities. The first round of the CAD-MDD will be administered at West Virginia University Ruby Memorial Hospital Emergency Department in Morgantown, WV. The research team will conduct process evaluations to determine the feasibility and acceptability of implementing the tool.
The long-term research goals are to build and sustain a secondary suicide prevention strategy by providing information on key diffusion variables for encouraging the adoption of an effective diagnostic screening tool into the West Virginia clinical health care environment.