Saint Louis University

Helen W. Lach

PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, Associate Professor

 Saint Louis University
 School of Nursing
 office: (314) 977-8939
 fax: (314) 977-8840



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 Dr. Lach joined Saint Louis University School of Nursing in 2002. She teaches gerontological nursing, as well as content on health promotion, disease prevention and disease self-management. Other teaching interests are scientific integrity, interdisciplinary care and research.

Practice: Dr. Lach has experience as a Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist working at the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Washington University School of Medicine for 16 years. Dr. Lach has also worked in the acute care setting as a staff nurse and head nurse.

Research and Scholarly Activities: Dr. Lach's research interests are primarily in the area of falls and injuries in community-dwelling older adults. She has also studied safety problems for people with Alzheimer's disease in the home setting, and other issues in health education/health promotion. She is interested in theory-based interventions to improve older adults' and caregivers' awareness and self-management of these concerns.


  • BSN, Saint Louis University
  • MSN (R) Gerontological Nursing, Saint Louis University
  • PhD, Nursing, Saint Louis University
  • NINR Pre-Doctoral Fellowship 
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Washington University and University of Iowa


  • Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist

Selected Publications:

Peer Reviewed:

  • Palmer, J.L., Langan, J., Krampe, J., Krieger, M., Lorenz, R., Schneider, J.K., Smith, J.M., and Lach, H. W. (in press). A model of risk reduction for older adults vulnerable to nursing home placement, Research and Theory for Nursing Practice.
  • Lach, H. W. (In press). Financial conflicts of interest: Recognition and management. Nursing Research.
  • Shin, C. N., & Lach, H. W. (In press). Acculturation and health of Korean American adults. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 
  • Lach, H. W., Lorenz., R. A., & L'Ecuyer, K. M. (2014). Aging muscles and joints: Mobilization. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America, 26(1), 105-113.
  • Lach, H. W. & Parsons, J. L. (OnlineFirst). Impact of fear of falling in long term care: An integrative review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. April 18, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2013.02.019
  • Lach, H. W., Hertz, J. E., Pomeroy, S. H., Resnick, B., & Buckwalter, K. C. (2013). The challenges and benefits of distance mentoring. Journal of Professional Nursing, 29(1), 39-48.*
  • Lach, H. W., Ball, L. J., & Birge, S. J. (2012). The Nursing Home Falls Self-Efficacy Scale: Development and Testing. Clinical Nursing Research, 21(1), 79-91. Doi: 101177/1054773811426927*
  • Lach, H. W., Krampe, J. Phongphanngam, S. (2011). Best practice in fall prevention: Roles of informal caregivers, health care providers and the community. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 6(4), 299-306.
  • Chang, Y. P., Edwards, D. F. & Lach, H. W. (2011). The Collateral Source Version of Geriatric Depression Scale: Evaluation of Psychometric Properties and Discrepancy between Collateral Sources and Patients with Dementia in Reporting Depression. International Psychogeriatrics, 23(2), 961-968. Doi: 101017/S1041610211000147*
  • Shin, C. N., & Lach, H. W. (2011). Nutritional issues of Korean Americans. Clinical Nursing Research, 20(2), 162-180.*
  • Lach, H. W. (2010). The costs and outcomes of falls: What's a nursing administrator to do? Nursing Administration Quarterly, 34(2), 147-155.
  • Lach, H. W., Chang, Y. P., & Edwards, D. F. (2010). Can older adults with dementia accurately report depression using brief forms? Reliability and validity of the Geriatric Depression Scale. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 36(5), 30-37.*
  • Lach, H. W., Chang, Y. P. (2007) Caregiver perspectives on safety in home dementia care. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 29 (8), 993-1014.*
  • Lach, H. W., Langan, J. C., & James, D. C. (2005). Disaster planning: Are gerontological nurses prepared? Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(11), 21-27.
  • Lach, H.W. (2005). Incidence and risk factors for developing fear of falling in older adults. Public Health Nursing, 22 (1), 45-52.*
  • Lach, H. W., Highstein, G., Brownson, C.A., & Everard, K.M. (2004). Application of the Transtheoretical model to health promotion for older adults. Health Promotion Practice, 5(1), 88-93.
  • Everard, K. M., Lach, H. W., Fisher, E. B., & Baum, M. C. (2000). Relationship of activity and social support to the functional health of older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 55B, S208-S212.*
  • Everard, K. M., Lach, H. W., & Heinrich, B. (2000). The development of HealthStages: A unique university and not-for-profit collaboration to enhance successful aging. Journal of Educational Gerontology, 26, 715-724.
  • Lach, H. W., Reed, A. T., Smith, L .J, & Carr, D. B. (1995). Alzheimer's disease: Assessing safety problems in the home. Geriatric Nursing, 16 (4) 160-164.*
  • Arfken, C. L., Lach, H. W., Birge, S. J., & Miller, J. P. (1994). The prevalence and correlates of fear of falling in elderly persons living in the community. American Journal of Public Health, 84 (4), 565-570.*
  • Lach, H. W., Dwyer, J. T., & Mann, M. (1994). P.E.P.: A partnership to asses and modify nutrition behavior in older adults. Journal of Nutrition in the Elderly. 13 (3), 57-68.*
  • Arfken, C. L., Lach, H. W., McGee, S., Birge, S. J., & Miller, J. P. (1994). Visual acuity, visual disabilities and falling in the elderly. Journal of Aging and Health, 6 (1), 38-50.*
  • Lach, H. W., Reed, A. T., Arfken, C. L., Miller, J. P., Paige, G. D., Birge, S. J., & Peck, W. A. (1991) Falls in the elderly: Reliability of a classification system. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 39: 197-202.*
  • Lach, H. W., & Renna, R. S. (1991). A task force approach to managing aging issues. Nursing Management, 22 (1), 62-64. 
  • Reed, A. T., Lach, H. W. Smith, L, & Birge, S. (1990). Alzheimer's disease and the need for supervision. American Journal of Alzheimer's Care and Research, 5 (5), 29 - 34.*
  • Houston, K, & Lach, H. W. (1990). Restraints: How do you score? Geriatric Nursing, 11 (5), 231- 232.


Books, Chapters and Invited Publications:

  • Lach, H. W. (2012). Geriatrics in a Page: Falls in older adults: Prevention is the key. Aging Successfully, 22(1), 12.
  • Lach, H. W. (2012). Show me falls free Missouri. Missouri Nurse, Spring, 2012, 18-21. 
  • L'Ecuyer, K., & Lach, H. W. (in press) Care of the high acuity older adult. In M. K. Wagner, K. Johnson & M. Hardin-Pierce (Eds), High Acuity Nursing, 6h Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • Lach, H. W. (2012). The Future of falls research: Nurses should lead the way. (Guest Editorial and Guest Editor for Special Issue on Falls). Clinical Nursing Research, 21(1), 
  • Lach, H. W. (2012). Home Safety Inventory for older adults with dementia. TRYThis: Best Practices in Nursing Care to Older Adults. Issue Number D12, 2012.
  • Lach, H. W. (2010). Nurses call to action to promote fall prevention awareness. SIGN, NGNA Newsletter, 17(5), 3.
  • Lach, H. W. (2010). The 2009 Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award: Mathy Mezey, EdD, RN, FAAN. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 36(3), 8-9. 
  • Lach, H. W. (2008). Reaching out with online education. Aging Successfully, 18 (1), 15.
  • L'ecuyer, K., & Lach, H. W. (2010) Care of the high acuity older adult. In M. K. Wagner, K. Johnson & M. Hardin-Pierce (Eds), High Acuity Nursing, 5th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • Lach, H. W. (2007). Dizziness, and Health Maintenance. Gerontological Nursing Software, PEPID Medical Information Services. 
  • Lach, H. W. (2007). Research briefs: Another opportunity for research dissemination. (Editorial). Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 33(2), 3-4. 
  • Linton, A. D. & Lach, H. W. (Eds). (2007). Matteson & McConnell's Gerontological Nursing: Concepts and Practice. St. Louis: Saunders/Elsevier. 
  • Lach, H. W. (2007). Research briefs: Another opportunity for research dissemination. Guest Editorial. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 33, 4-5. 
  • Lach, H. W. (2006). Self-efficacy and fear of falling: In search of complete theory. (Letter to the editor). Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52 (2), 381-382.
  • Lach. H. W. (2006). Dizziness in the Elderly. In Fitzpatrick, J. J. & Fulmer, T., Wallace, M. & Flaherty, E. (Eds.) Geriatric Nursing Research Digest, 2nd Edition. New York: Springer.
  • Lach. H. W. (2000). Dizziness in the elderly. In Fitzpatrick, J. J. & Fulmer, T., Wallace, M. & Flaherty, E. (Eds.) Geriatric Nursing Research Digest. New York: Springer.
  • Lach, H. W. (2003). Fear of falling: An emerging public health problem. Generations, 26 (4), 33-37.
  • Lach, H. W. (2001). St. Louis: OASIS Institute. Staying on your feet: A health awareness course for older adults.
  • Oliver, C. R., Lach, H. W., & Heinrich, B. (1998). HealthStages Personal Health Workbook. St. Louis: OASIS Institute
  • Lach, H. W. (1993). The healthy older American: Assessment of the older adult. In Voss-Morice, S. Ed., Geriatric Nursing. New York: Skidmore Roth.
  • Lach, H. W., (1993). Use of physical restraints and options. In Problem Behaviors in Long Term Care, Swabo, P., Grossberg, G., Eds. New York: Springer.
  • Mann, M., Lach, H. W., Branham, J. (1993). Positive Attitudes, Positive Aging: A Guide for Positive Actions in Later Life. St. Louis: OASIS Institute.
  • Dwyer, J. T., Mann, M. & Lach, H. W. (1993). P.E.P.: A partnership to assess and modify nutrition behavior in older adults. Nutrition Update 3 (2), 2-4.


  • American Geriatrics Society 
  • American Nurses Association
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society
  • Sigma Theta Tau International


2013-205, PI Lach, Presidents Research Award  -  $25,000
Wireless Home Monitoring of Activity in Older Adults With and Without Fear of Falling.
Project to explore activity monitoring data for evaluating activity levels in community-dwelling older adults.

2010-2015, PI John Morley, HRSA
Gateway Geriatric Education Center
Project to evaluate a communities of practice model for fall prevention in nursing homes.
Role: Faculty and Evaluation

2008-2011, PI Helen Lach R15NR010792 - 01  -  $220,500
A Coaching and Education Intervention for Fear of Falling in Older Adults funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research.
Pilot study of a coaching-enhanced Matter of Balance program for frail older adults with fear of falling and balance problems.

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