|Falls Prevention Program|
Falls are one of the leading causes of co-morbidity in the elderly and in the disabled populations. The goals of the Falls Prevention Program are to identify individuals who are at risk for falling, to identify the specific risk factors that put each individual at risk, and to provide them with the services and education necessary to reduce their risk of falling. Physical and occupational therapy will be directed at increasing both mobility and safety, by specifically targeting the deficits that place the individual at the greatest risk for falling.
Risk factors for falls that may effectively be addressed through physical or occupational therapy treatment include the following:
Impairments to the musculoskeletal or sensorimotor system from the effects of aging, arthritis, deconditioning, and orthopaedic trauma or surgery
Peripheral or central nervous system pathology
Decreased functional mobility status
Problems with the home environment
Each patient referred to the Falls Prevention Program will be evaluated by a highly skilled physical therapist who will assess all systems that contribute to an individual’s risk for falls. Screening tools to be used include the Berg Balance Scale, the Sensory Organization Test, the Functional Reach Test, a modified Mini-Mental Status Screen, a Visual Screen, a Vestibular Screen, a home environment interview, and a musculoskeletal and functional mobility evaluation. Referring physicians will be contacted with the results of the evaluation and recommendations for therapy services needed to address the deficits identified.
Possible referral recommendations may include the following:
Physical therapy will be recommended to address the needs of those patients with musculoskeletal or sensorimotor impairments, vestibular impairments, or functional mobility deficits. Physical therapy goals will be directed at reducing the individual’s fall risk, minimizing the effects of these impairments, and increasing the individual’s capabilities for safe functional mobility.
Occupational therapy will be recommended to address the needs of those individuals with visual or cognitive impairments or deficits in activities of daily living or home management. Occupational therapy goals will be directed at reducing the individual’s fall risk by minimizing the effects of these impairments and maximizing the individual’s safety with functional mobility and daily activities.