Those who are 65 years or older are at great risk for slips and falls. These accidents can cause moderate to severe injuries such as impaired function, head trauma, hip fractures, and even result in medical conditions which my lead to death. Many slip and fall accidents happen at home, caused by tripping hazards such as poor lighting, slippery, wet or uneven surfaces, lack of handrails, and so on. Osteoporosis, loss of muscle strength, general weakness, vertigo, and previous fall-related injuries are the main factors responsible for slips and falls.
Leading healthcare centers offer personalized slip/fall prevention programs to help older adults lead a safer life. The program is designed to help older people avoid falling and lead a healthy, independent life. At a professional healthcare center, a multidisciplinary team of providers comprising emergency room physicians and nurses, general practitioners, physical therapists, and other specialists evaluate each participant to develop personalized programs. Extending to four weeks, a typical slip and fall prevention program comprises these steps:
- The person is asked general health questions, and tests are conducted to check blood pressure and heart rate, and functional abilities.
- The results of the evaluation process are reviewed and the factors that put the person at risk of falling are discussed. Physical risk factors such as poor strength and balance are modified with a personalized exercise plan. The physician also helps the participant identify and minimize the impact of environmental factors that can cause falls inside and outside the home.
- Interventions such as clinical and home exercises are recommended and performed under the specialist’s supervision. The clinical exercises are aimed to improve strength, walking speed, gait, balance, flexibility, step length and cardiovascular fitness. The balance retraining program would consist of Biodex Isokinetic testing and exercise, gait (walking) testing and training, dynamic testing and training.
- The outcome of the program is evaluated and a report drawn up. To address specific problems, the physician may recommend more interventions and exercise.
Such centers also offer geriatric care. Multi-component interventions may be advised for patients in nursing homes or such as gait training, advice on proper use of assistive devices, review and modification of medications, and staff education programs.