We talk to Dr. Carlos Romero and Tasha Saca to learn how Reliance Medical Centers gets involved and how their collaborations benefit both their patients as well as the community.
Q: “When did Reliance Medical Centers get involved with the community?”
A: “Reliance Medical Centers has always prioritized getting involved in community organizations. We believe it is vital to contribute to public health because everyone benefits, including our patients.
Q: “What type of organizations do you get involved with?”
A: “We are currently involved in many community organizations and initiatives that focus on older adults. For example, we are a Founding Friend of Age-Friendly Lakeland. We are also involved with Better Living for Seniors, the Echo Project and PACT study through the Alzheimer’s Association and the Coalition on Injury Prevention, to name a few.
Q: “Can you give me an example of how working with these groups impacts public health to decrease falls?”
A: One example is where we noted on the Annual Action Plan of the Coalition on Injury Prevention: Falls Taskforce that more Bone Builders instructors and classes were needed in the community. We had our Activity Coach certified to teach and now offer two full classes a week in the Reliance Wellness Club. We are very proud to say that two of our patients from the class are on track to be certified Bone Builders Instructors as well!
Q: “The Coalition for Injury Preventions sounds interesting. What does it do and how is Reliance involved?”
A: “It’s a group that provides injury prevention education and resources designed to positively impact the community by utilizing partnerships,
effective communication, and support of community events. We are specifically involved with the Fall Prevention Taskforce.
The Fall Prevention Taskforce reviews data and statistics from ourselves and Lakeland Regional Hospital. The data shows us the types of falls that are causing injury in our community, and we can also identify what demographics are most at risk. From this, we can come up with initiatives to help prevent people from falling. The data also shows us which efforts work best so that we can refine programs and develop new ones.
Reliance Medical Centers was invited to join the taskforce because of our specialization in older adults. The demographics clearly show that they have the highest fall risk, prone to more severe falls and on average take much longer to recover from falls. In fact, one bad fall can have a long-lasting negative impact on an individual’s life. We find prevention programs certainly make a difference.
Q: “Can you explain the sorts of fall prevention initiatives you have implemented?”
A: We developed the ‘Living With…’ series; a series of guides that contain medical and educational information that’s made available to the community, intended to assist in understanding and managing chronic conditions/diseases. We dedicated one of these guides to fall prevention, called Living with Increased Risk of Falls (IRF). When creating the content, we went to great lengths to ensure it would be a practical tool designed for older adults and their families. It explains risk factors, preventative measures and what to do in the event of a fall.
We have also implemented a range of activities at our Wellness Club designed to decrease fall risk and made them available to the public. For example, we have Bone Builders and Tai Chi. Bone Builders has become our most popular by far. It runs every day of the week! In this class, we teach exercises that help build muscle mass and bone density. In Tai Chi we also build bone density and muscle mass while gaining balance and coordination.
Also popular is our Mindful Meditation class; this class benefits our patients by teaching them to be present and aware of their surroundings. They learn to be more conscious of their surroundings outside of class, which helps avoid incidental slips or falls that can occur from not paying attention to your environment. Another popular activity is our ‘Cooking with Kay’ class that supports fall prevention because the recipes are high in nutrients like Vitamin D and Calcium to maintain bone density.
Q: “How do you know that the work that you are doing is having an impact and preventing falls?”
A: “We keep track of our patients’ progress; this allows us to compare their baseline from before they take any classes to after taking classes, and we can see the improvement. Also, our patients actively report specific instances where they have been able to prevent a fall due to what they have learned with us. The programs truly make a positive difference.
Q: “How do you get people to attend these classes?”
A: Our doctors recommend different activities that we offer at the Reliance Wellness Club. We even created Wellness Club “prescription pads” where our doctors “prescribe” Wellness Club classes, making patients accountable and more likely to attend classes.
The effort that Reliance Medical Centers makes to be involved in community organizations indicates how they truly value a holistic and preventative approach to health and wellness for older adults. Their successful integration of strategic partnerships allows them to give their patients the best, most innovative care while simultaneously contributing to the community.
Reliance Medical Centers
3655 Innovation Dr.
Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – 1pm
Lab: 7am – 4pm
111 Avenue A SE
Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
Lab: 7am – 4pm