Falls are a major cause of injury and decline in seniors. The increased risk of falls as people age can be attributed to factors such as vision impairments, chronic health conditions, muscle weakness or an illness that has affected balance.
Preventing falls should be a key focus in all aged care settings as not only can falls cause serious injuries that impact on an older person’s long term health, particularly when there are underlying conditions such as osteoporosis or dementia. Falls can also lead to a loss of confidence in seniors that can reduce independence and wellbeing.
Allied health approaches to preventing falls in older people
Physiotherapists can assist in aged care settings with a falls prevention program that involves:
- assessing transfers, mobility, strength, balance, range of movement and fall risk factors
- developing tailored exercise programs to maintain or improve mobility, strength, balance and endurance
- identifying physical activities that are safe and minimise fall risk
- delivering fall prevention programs to staff
- developing strategies to help manage impairments and maintain safety
- suggesting equipment to help with safe transfers
- instructing carers on safe physical assistance
Trained Occupational Therapists can help design interventions to reduce the risk of falls. Their role includes:
- assessing home environments and providing advice on environmental modifications
- evaluating individuals for limitations that contribute to falls.
- identifying barriers to participation in physical activities and exercise to improve balance and strength
- providing support to change activity patterns and behaviours.
- prescribing aids or equipment to allow safe engagement in physical activity and exercise
- minimising risks and impediments in both home and aged care settings
- educating aged care staff to reduce risks and adapt behaviours to prevent falls
- providing advice around assistive technologies
ACRS and Geriatric Rehabilitation
ACRS’ professional allied health team can design and deliver quality geriatric rehabilitation services, supported by registered Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.