26 Alaska Business | December 2017 www.akbizmag.com
Judy Mottl writes about important issues
country-wide with an affinity for Alaska.
“Both the inpatient units and our emergency department keep supplies of both new
and gently used warm clothing to assure
that patients leave the hospital appropriately
dressed,” says Murphy, who adds the state’s
economic downturn may make such issues
even more ubiquitous. “I’m guessing here,
but I believe this winter will bring the unfortunate combination of more people and fewer
resources to help them,” he says.
Boosting Winter Safety
Just like Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center, based in Anchorage, reports that fall-related injuries
because of icy walkways and roadways is the
top reason patients over the age of thirty visit
the facility’s emergency department.
In fact, 43. 3 percent of injuries during the
winter are due to slips and falls, according to
a hospital spokesperson, and 24. 5 percent of
winter falls are related to ice and or snow.
That’s a principal reason Providence initiated an Injury Prevention Outreach program
in 2014 that provides ice cleat education, distribution, and a cleat fitting program in the
In 2016 the hospital provided ice cleat fitting and safe winter walking education to
the Faith Community Nurses and Anchorage Literacy Project Peer Leader Navigators.
The nurses, representing twenty-five different faith communities, were given 200 pairs
of ice cleats for congregation members. Another 140 were given to the navigators, who
serve as health liaisons to ethnically diverse
This past October a total of 404 pairs of
ice cleats and safety education outreach were
made available to both groups for the upcoming winter season.
The hospital’s Injury Prevention Outreach
program also includes a coordinated reflector distribution effort in Anchorage, which
started in 2000. The program focuses on both
adult and pediatric populations.
“Given Alaska’s seasonal low-light wintertime conditions, making reflective zipper-pulls
and adhesive reflective material available to
community members, especially those who are
frequent pedestrians and bicyclists, is a priority,” states an information sheet on the program.
In 2016, 400 clip-on and reflective materials were provided to the Faith Community
Nurses and Navigators and a homeless teen
shelter received 200 reflectors. In addition,
3,650 reflective tape strips and 1,940 reflective zipper-pulls were given to elementary
school children in Anchorage.
Most recently the outreach program received a donation of 10,000 brilliant reflective strip packets and plans to expand distribution to more faith communities, schools,
and emergency shelters this winter season,
all in the hope that the community will be
warmer, safer, and protected against Alaska’s
seemingly interminable winters. R
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