Reducing trauma through prevention
Free programs teach safe behavior across our region
Whether it’s a kid hitting the trail on an all-terrain vehicle (ATVs) or a senior driving around the corner to the grocery store, everyone loves their freedom.
But freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Responsibility to yourself and the people around you. Staying active and productive, while making the right choices to prevent catastrophic injuries.
So our trauma program isn’t just about facilities and surgeons. It’s about working with our communities to stop traumatic injuries from happening in the first place.
Risk of unintentional injury death is 40 percent higher in the most rural areas than in most urban areas.
-- Annals of Emergency Medicine, Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United States?
Geisinger is there
Hosting free classes and events to prevent trauma
There’s a link between trauma and behavior. We start by examining trauma data to discover the people most at risk for traumatic injuries. Then we spread the word about preventing those injuries to the community.
Working closely with The American Trauma Society (ATSPA) Pennsylvania Division, our outreach coordinators regularly attend local health fairs and host free programs to educate our region on safety topics such as drinking and driving, fire prevention and much more.
Safety programs for older adults/seniors
- Minimizing slips and falls: Seniors represent more than one third of all hospital injury admissions. And more than 80% of these injuries are caused by unintentional falls. Fear of falling can actually contribute to falling. Our Watch Your Step: Being Sensible at Home program helps reduce needless injuries and deaths by addressing home environment concerns, lessening fear of falling and providing lessons for assistive devices such as canes and walkers.
- Driving road safety: Most of us want to drive for as long as we can, so the loss of mobility can be devastating to older Pennsylvanians. Through the Safe Driving Coalition Lycoming County PennDOT, The Mature Drivers Task Force balances the safety of our roadways with the impact of the loss of independence, autonomy, and mobility of the older driver. Through a collaborative effort among drivers, their families, and the community mature drivers and pedestrians in Pennsylvania are safe and feel safe while traveling state roads.
Safety programs for kids/teens/young adults
- Keeping children safe on the road: We attend elementary school open houses and community health fairs to provide family education on car-passenger safety for children. Through interactive exercises, attendees learn not to allow a child to ride in the front seat with an airbag until at least 12 yrs. of age, and the importance on keeping children in booster seats until they are at least 8 yrs. old, 80 pounds and a minimum of 4’9” tall.
- Combatting goal-oriented drinking: Across the United States, an average of one student dies from acute alcohol poisoning every week. Hosted by our Trauma Case Manager/Injury Prevention and Out-Reach Coordinator, C2H5OH: Dying to Be the Life of the Party is a free, honest and frank presentation targeted at high-risk alcohol drinkers ages 15-24 to educate them about risks associated with binge drinking and the signs and symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning.
- Reducing youth ATV injuries and deaths: The most common All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) injuries occur to the brain, face and spinal cord, and nearly half of ATV-related deaths and injuries occur in children under the age of 16. Our Pediatric Trauma Program presents ATV safety classes through Safe Kids Pennsylvania Susquehanna Valley Chapter, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Northumberland County Planning Department for children ages 8-15.
- Promoting gun safety: In many rural Pennsylvania homes, owning a gun is a way of life. Knowledge about safe gun handling lowers the risk of accidents. To improve gun safety behavior, we’ve held education events to teach safer storage of firearms in the home.
- Slowing down distracted driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 21 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers 15-19 years old were the result of using a cell phone while driving. Texting, inattention, drugs and alcohol and even eating at the wheel affects response time. Our Distracted Driving program was designed for 15 to 24 year olds to show them why the road is the only thing they should be focused on when behind the wheel.