Falls prevention Physiotherapy
A fall is an event that results in a person coming to rest unintentionally on the ground or floor or other lower level.(1)Over 400 risk factors leading to falling have been identified including lack of physical activity resulting in loss of muscle tone, decreased bone mass, poor balance, and reduced flexibility; impaired vision, medications, disease including Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke and arthritis, surgery, and environmental hazards. The risk of falls and associated complications rise steadily with age and can be a marker of increasing frailty. Frailty is not clearly defined but is widely accepted to include a combination of weight loss, fatigue, reduced grip strength, diminished physical activity or slowed gait associated with increased risk of falls, hospitalisation, loss of mobility and independence, increasing disability and death.
We have specialist skills in assessment and re-ablement and provide evidence based exercise, education and advice program’s aimed to prevent falls, improve balance, increase self confidence, reduce fear of falling and promote active and healthy lifestyles. Physiotherapy led group exercise program’s have been shown to be effective and to reduce falls by 29% and the risk of falling by 15% and individual exercise program’s by 32% and 22% respectively.Community based falls prevention program’s targeting older adults particularly older women, can be highly cost effective with the value of benefits from reduced hospital admission significantly exceeding cost of intervention.For community living older adults tailored exercise program’s delivered as part of a multidisciplinary co-ordinated intervention reduced the rate of falls by 31% and the risk of falling by 27%.
Program’s delivering 50+ hours of exercise have been shown to be more effective (23% reduction in rate of falls) than those with less than 50 hours (7% reduction) and program’s of 2 hours per week for 6 months are recommended. Up to half of non-injured fallers are unable to get up following a fall; physiotherapists teach people how to get up from the ground safely, reducing the risks associated with long lies including pressure sores, hospital admission and moving into long term care.(7) Physiotherapist will do comprehensive assessment, identifying underlying pathologies (such as osteoporosis), signposting to other specialist services and offering individual advice and support.