Falls constitute the leading cause of injury and disability amongst seniors. Although oftentimes injury stemming from falls may be minor, some can be detrimental and sometimes lead to death. In Canada, 25-35% of seniors will experience at least one fall annually.
The incidence of falls amongst seniors is often highest following hospital discharge. In the months following discharge, seniors often time experience a significant decline in functional ability. Their ability to conduct activities of daily living typically does not compare well to pre-admission levels, leading to an increased susceptibility to falls. Physiotherapy thus becomes paramount as it acts to provide the appropriate level of exercise, education, and other interventions to improve the senior’s functional ability and reduce their risk of falls.
How can physiotherapy Reduce the incidence of falls amongst Seniors?
Physiotherapists are licensed health care professionals that guide, conduct and measure the effectiveness of physical rehabilitation. They do this in both an in-patient (in-hospital) and out-patient (outside of the hospital) setting.
Studies have previously found that education about the risk of falls, management strategies, and their potential outcome resulted in increased involvement in strategies that minimize falls. Like geriatricians and nurses, physiotherapists carry the correct level of expertise to sufficiently educate seniors in strategies to minimize the risk of falls.
No single approach can be applied to all seniors. Physiotherapists are well equipped with the necessary strategies to address the specific needs of their patients. Following an assessment that aids in determining the underlying physical cause of the increased risk of falls, the physiotherapist will provide the appropriate physical intervention strategies to minimize and mitigate the incidence of falls.
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