Here is a short overview of how falls prevention is approached through screening, assessing and intervention by the different professions that form our multidisciplinary teams.
75% of all injury hospitalisations for people aged 65 and over are a result of a fall. Despite this, falls need not be an inevitable aspect of ageing. Evidence indicates that falls prevention programs that address multiple risk factors are most effective with interventions that focus on the individual’s needs and specific risk considerations.
Weak muscles and impaired balance are leading contributors to increasing fall rates in the elderly. Physical activity can go a long way toward falls prevention. Combinations of targeted balance exercises, general strengthening and walking programs are the most effective approach for long term fall prevention. Physiotherapists can create custom exercise programs aimed at improving balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait. Physiotherapists can aid in finding the right walker, frame or equipment to improve safe mobility for older adults and those with a movement challenge.
Problems with bowel and bladder control can impact on an older person’s ability to stay active, healthy and independent. Incontinence, urinary frequency and assisted toileting have been identified as falls risk factors for residents in residential aged care facilities. Nurses can assist in managing incontinence that can lead to increased falls risk.
By working with GPs and doctors, nurses can also help to manage medication side-effects and interactions that can increase the risk of falls.
Podiatrists deal exclusively with foot, ankle and the related structures of the leg which are imperative to function and balance in standing and walking. A podiatrist can analyse stride and gait and recommend foot and lower extremity exercises that can strengthen this mechanical chain. Podiatrists can assess and fit appropriate shoes that provide support, fit properly and are non-slip.
The Occupational Therapist
Falls can often be the result of the interplay of environmental (extrinsic) and personal (intrinsic) factors. Occupational Therapists focus on supporting maximal independent function for the completion of activities of daily living (ADLs) in the safest and most ergonomic way. This may be through adaption of the environment to meet the needs of clients and residents or by intervening with rehabilitation to improve the quality and safety of functional activities.
Nutrition is an important factor in falls prevention, as frailty and weakness result in loss of muscle mass and strength, neuromuscular impairment and limited mobility. Nutritional status has been shown to be a determining factor in risk of falling, severity of injuries incurred and recovery time after a fall related injury. Dieticians assist in developing food-based diets that support vitality and ensure the energy required to stay active and strong.
We Change Lives
Empower Healthcare is a national allied-health service provider and partner with Home Care package providers, NDIS plan managers & Aged Care organisations to deliver life changing allied health services. We offer a full-service platform from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, dietetics to osteopathy, massage therapy and most recently, home nursing services and pride ourselves in the delivery of high-quality therapy solutions, value packed services and responsive ethos.
It is a very exciting time with Empower Healthcare building on the success of its Victorian operation and now expanding nationally into NSW & WA. With a growing team of 100+ clinicians, we provide over 1,500 treatments every day and service more than 100 healthcare organisations. Building on this strong foundation, we are well positioned and committed to delivering exceptional care.
Our therapists genuinely care about the people we work with and take the time to build strong relationships that holistically improve social, physical and mental wellbeing to live happier and healthier lives.
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