Falls are one of the leading causes of co-morbidity in the elderly and disabled populations. The Falls Prevention Program offered at many MedStar National Rehabiliation Network facilities helps by identifying individuals at risk for falling, isolating each person’s specific risk factors, and the services and education necessary to reduce falling risks.
Physical and occupational therapy focuses on increasing mobility and safety by targeting the deficits that pose the greatest risk for falls, including:
- Impairments to the musculoskeletal or sensorimotor system (from aging, arthritis, deconditioning, and orthopaedic trauma/surgery+)
- Peripheral or central nervous system pathology
- Decreased functional mobility status
- Impaired vision
- Vestibular dysfunction
- Cognitive impairments
- Problems with the home environment
If referred to the Falls Prevention Program, the patient will be evaluated by a highly skilled physical therapist who will assess all systems that contribute to fall risks. The physical therapist will contact referring physicians with the results of the evaluation and recommend therapy services, which may include physical or occupational therapy.
- 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.