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HOW CHAMP WORKS

The Community Health and Mobility Partnership (CHAMP) program is designed to improve the health of older adults and to decrease their risk of falling. CHAMP events are held at community sites such as senior centers and wellness centers that are easily accessible to older adults. At each CHAMP event, older adult participants with concerns about balance and/or mobility undergo comprehensive screening for falls risk factors by a team of health professional students, faculty, and clinicians, including nurses, physical therapists (PTs), and/or physical therapist assistants (PTAs). The screening process includes assessment of medical history, blood pressure, cognition, mood, medications, muscle strength, balance, and mobility.

Older adult participants who are found to be at increased risk for falls and appropriate for intervention through CHAMP are given an individualized home exercise program based on the Otago Exercise Programme1. This is a set of simple strengthening and balance exercises that older adults can perform safely at home. CHAMP participants are instructed in performance of individualized Otago exercises and scheduled for at least two follow-up CHAMP appointments. At each follow-up, the interprofessional team re-evaluates the participant’s status and progresses the exercises as appropriate. The team determines when the participant has improved his/her strength, balance, and mobility to the point that he/she is ready for “graduation” from CHAMP!

We are working to expand CHAMP to reach underserved older adults in Buncombe County. If you would like to be involved with the task force that is developing plans for this expansion in 2019-2020, or if you would be interested in helping to provide services at the Buncombe County CHAMP once it is launched, please contact us via email: champ@unc.edu

1 Campbell AJ, Robertson MC. Otago exercise programme to prevent falls in older adults. New Zealand: Otago Medical School, University of Otago; 2003.