Fall prevention

Written by Advanced Mutual Group

Can you prevent people from falling?  A person with health problems?  How about a healthy person?   Most of the time, my answer would be yes.  Are falls going to occur anyway?  YesPhysical therapy pic

After working in the Physical Therapy field for over 25 years, I have seen a few things.  Hi, I’m Mitch Winstead from Advanced Mutual Group and Allstar Senior Benefits. If you need to ask questions or want a quote on life insurance, call us today.  Our toll-free number is 866-598-8170 or 910-452-1922.  Our website is http://www.advancedmutualgroup.com   https://www.allstarseniorbenefits.com  We have a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/medsuppguru  Falls happen.  How do you prevent a fall? Good question.  One of my patients a few years ago fell a lot.  She had a walker.  She was alert or “with it”  She just fell a lot.  What did I do to stop it?  I took a look at the big picture. What was wrong with the patient? Or what was her diagnosis?  Is there anything contributing to falls?  Did she have the right equipment?  How was her cognitive status/  How was her strength? Was there anything in her environment that was causing her to fall?  There was nothing large standing out.  Her gait was ok.  Gait is a term used in the medical profession for walking.

She was not doing anything dangerous.  I started where I always start which is the basics.  First I start with strength and go over some fall prevention exercises.  Mainly lower extremity strength.  Then, of course, the big one is balance.  Here balance was fair.  But I had many other patients that had poor to fair balance and didn’t fall as much as she did. So we just did basic strength training and balance drills for a few weeks.  She still kept falling.  Why?  I couldn’t figure it out.  I spoke with her daughter and tried to find out some further information.  She didn’t give me a whole lot.  I kept on continuing a lot of balance drills and gait training and strength train again for the legs or lower extremities. I gave her a fall prevention program.

It took a lot of repetition of balance drills to improve her proprioception.  We just kept going over them again and again.  After about 9 weeks.   Here falls had decreased from 3 to 4 times weekly to 1 time weekly.  Yes!  that was an improvement!   Eventually, she did not have any falls and I discharged her.   From then until now.  That patient had a record number of falls.  More than any patient I had previously until now. Falls hurt-literally.  Have you ever fallen?  It hurts!.  Some falls obviously are more dangerous than others.

Any number of things can happen.  A person can hit their head.  Some break their hip. Some break their wrist like a “Colles fracture”  Some people may even die from complications after falling. I had one guy who broke his neck.  Thank God it did not cause him to be paralyzed.  Falling is scary.

So that is just a few stories out of the many I have.

Physical Therapy treatments

PT-Physical Therapy working with a woman on an exercise mat in a medical office

Let’s look at some things you can do to help stop or decrease falls from happening.

  1. Take a look at your medications. Are there side effects that cause dizziness or low blood pressure or general balance problems?
  2. Are your muscles strong enough for you to walk across the room? Can you get up out of bed?
  3. Do you have arthritis or joint pain that hurts a lot to walk or exercise?
  4. Are you walking pathways clear?
  5. Do you have adequate lighting?
  6. Are your steps too steep?
  7. Is there clutter in your environment?
  8. Do you have an ear or eye disorder?
  9. Do you have neuropathy on your feet?
  10. Are you diabetic
  11. Do you have proper footwear?
  12. Do you need to use a cane or walker? These are just a few reasons why a person may fall. I have told, asked and reasoned with people to be careful with walking.  I have issued a fall prevent checklist.  However, some people don’t want to listen. If you need help because you are falling, I would suggest you make an appointment with your Doctor. He or She may want to prescribe (PT) or Physical Therapy.  PT may give out some fall prevention exercises. Written by Mitch Winstead. Owner of Advanced Mutual Group and Allstar Senior Benefits.  866-598-8170All Star Senior BenefitsAdvanced Mutual Group
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