Tag: fall prevention

Falls Awareness Week: An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency departments treat 3 million older adults for falls each year. More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized after a fall, approximately 20% of falls result in serious injuries, and falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Despite these often preventable statistics, individuals enrolled in Medicare often are not screened for risk of falling at their annual wellness visit.

Currently, during the initial annual wellness visit, a provider is required to assess an individual’s functional ability and level of safety with regard to the ability to successfully perform activities of daily living, falls risk, hearing impairment, and home safety. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not require functional status and safety assessments in follow-up wellness visits, in part due to the fact that the United Stated Preventative Services Task Force (USPTSF) has not proffered a recommendation for such.

Full story at APTA

5 Ways to Get Ready for Falls Prevention Awareness Day

An estimated 1 in 4 adults 65 and older experiences a fall each year, and according to a recent study, falls-related deaths among adults 75 and older are on the rise, all of which makes falls prevention more relevant than ever.

With Falls Prevention Awareness Day coming September 23, now is a great time to check out a few falls-related resources from APTA and its components. Here are a few ways to make the next few days a little more fall-focused.

1. Check out the tests and measures at PTNow.
In addition to being your source for clinical summaries, clinical practice guidelines, and research, APTA’s evidence-based practice resource also includes a host of tests and measures—including many related to balance. Members can download information on the 360-degree turn stand, the balance error scoring system, the elderly mobility scale, and the falls risk assessment tool, to name a few. Some of the resources even come with accompanying videos. And don’t forget other falls-related resources at PTNow, such as this clinical summary on fall risk in community-dwelling elders.

Full story at APTA

Deadly falls are on the rise for seniors, and prevention is key

Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls. Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall. Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.

“How many times have you fallen in the past 12 months?”

That’s the first thing physical therapist Laura Wazen asks patients when they walk through the doors of her practice to undergo a balance assessment. And if statistics are any indication, it’s a question of growing importance. Deadly falls are on the rise.

Not every person who ends up at Equinox Physical Therapy thinks they have a balance problem – many are there because of pressure from either their family or doctor. She once had a patient deny they had a balance issue because they “only fell once or twice a day.”

Full story at newsllive.com

Home-based exercise program reduces subsequent falls in high-risk seniors

An in-home exercise program reduced subsequent falls in high-risk seniors by 36 per cent, according the results of a 12-month clinical trial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, conducted by UBC faculty of medicine researchers in partnership with the clinical team at the Falls Prevention Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital, found a reduction in fall rate and a small improvement in cognitive function in seniors who received strength and balance training through the clinical trial.

Falls increase risk of injury and loss of independence for older adults. Exercise is a widely recommended fall prevention strategy, but whether it can reduce subsequent falls in those who have previously fallen is not well established.

Full story at news-medical.net

Sharp increase in falls in women during midlife

Falls are not just a problem of advanced age, according to researchers in Trinity College Dublin, who have identified a sharp increase in falls after the age of 40, particularly in women.

The research, which drew on data from TILDA (the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) as well as data from similar studies in Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands, found that for women the prevalence of falls increases from the age of 40 on — 9% in 40-44 year olds, 19% in 45-49 year olds, 21% in 50-54 year olds, 27% in 55-59 year olds and 30% in 60-64 year olds.

The findings indicate that middle-age may be a critical life stage for interventions designed to prevent falls, according to the authors. The study incorporated the data from 19,207 men and women aged between 40 and 64 years. It has been recently published in the international journal PLOS ONE.

Full story at Science Daily

Physical therapy for older adults may lead to fewer fall-related ED revisits

Falls are the leading cause of illness and death among Americans aged 65 and older. In 2014, some 2.8 million older adults visited the emergency department (ED) for a fall-related injury. And over time, the ED visit rate for falls among older adults has grown to 68.8 per 1,000 older adults (as of 2010).

Older adults who visit the ED for a fall are at high risk for both revisiting the ED and dying. In fact, some estimates show that 25 percent of older adults visiting the ED for a fall returned for at least one additional fall-related visit. Fifteen percent of those older adults died within the following year.

Because so many older adults visit an ED due to falls, many experts see an opportunity for EDs to play a role in reducing future falls among older adults who are at high risk.

Full story at news-medical.net

Falling Is Dangerous for the Elderly—and Often Preventable

One of the biggest health threats facing Americans age 65 and older is also one many of them don’t like to talk about: falling.

At least half of senior Americans who fall don’t tell anyone, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether it’s a spouse declining to tell a partner, or an elderly parent hiding it from the children, many seniors keep quiet because they are embarrassed and fear losing their independence.

By remaining silent, however, many of these patients become more afraid and more sedentary, medical experts say. That increases their risk for additional falls and injuries, which can lead to fatal complications such as intracranial bleeding, flail chest and respiratory failure. Indeed, falls are the leading cause of injuries and death from injuries in older Americans, according to the CDC.

Full story at Wall Street Journal

Study shows tailored physical therapy program reduces bad falls in the elderly

Falls are a leading cause of death and disability in the elderly, and also contribute to rising healthcare costs. In 2012, a research team from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) in Singapore teamed up with the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Agency for Integrated Care, to study the effectiveness of tailored physical therapy programmes for the elderly to prevent falls, also known as the Steps to Avoid Falls in Elderly (SAFE) study. The results of that study are now in.

The team, led by Professor David Matchar, Director of the Health Services and Systems Research Programme at Duke-NUS, recruited into the SAFE study 354 elderly patients who previously sought medical attention at emergency departments for a fall or fall-related injuries. All recruited patients were older than 65 years of age. Of these, half were randomly assigned to the intervention group, to receive tailored and intensive physical therapy. The other half were in the control group, and received no structured physical therapy beyond usual services. All participants were followed over a period of nine months.

Full story of tailored PT to reduce falls in the elderly at Medical Xpress

 

From PTJ: Pediatric Rehab Unit Takes First Steps Toward Falls Prevention

When the management team of one hospital’s pediatric rehabilitation unit sought to decrease the number of falls among its patients, they found little in the way of guidance. So they got to work: after scouring the research, they developed a unique falls prevention program called “Red Light, Green Light” that resulted in greatly reduced falls among these patients. The program is described in detail in an article e-published ahead of print in Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of APTA.

Most falls prevention programs are centered around older adults. But according to authors, 61% of falls among children are “anticipated physiologic falls”—in short, falls that could have been predicted using a falls risk assessment tool. Of those pediatric falls that caused injuries, most were due to “family inattentiveness” or “environmental/equipment factors.” So, the interdisciplinary team designed the program to educate both staff and family members who are present when the child is transferring or ambulating.

Full story of pediatric rehab and fall prevention at APTA

Rates of EMS Transports for Falls Can Be Related to Factors Beyond Injury Severity

Falls among people 65 and older make up a significant portion of the 911 calls to emergency medical services (EMS) providers—but the likelihood of the event resulting in transport to a trauma facility can depend on the location of the fall, sex of the injured individual, and even geographic setting, according to an analysis of events recorded in 2012.

In an article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers looked at data from 903,588 calls made to EMS providers related to falls by individuals 65 and older, including age and location of the victim, as well as the initial clinical impressions of the EMS provider and final dispensation of the call.

Full story of EMS transports for falls at APTA