There are many different conditions that can contribute to someone experiencing a fall.
Have your or your client had a second of poor judgement and fallen? I myself have had a few hard falls: walking over a non level parking lot at an apartment complex that was covered with snow and ice, slipping on a wet garage floor, and trying to text and walk down the stairs- twice! 🙁
As a clinician or family caregiver, it is important to look at the whole person, and complete situation, to figure out what factors may have contributed to a person’s fall. As a senior focused on staying healthy and fall free, it is imperative to recognize that there are many different conditions that can play a part in a person’s risk of falling.
Early in the morning and late at night are common times for falls.
People tend to be sleepy and weak first thing in the morning, and late at night (or during the night). When I progress a patient from walker to cane, I always caution them to make a gradual transition, and consider the activity and time of day for greatest safety.
Many falls for seniors occur in their bathrooms, or when they get up during the night. Sleepiness, decreased vision, poor lighting, and weakness can all contribute to a fall during the night time. Safe furniture placement, good lighting, and appropriate bathroom equipment can all play a huge role in fall prevention.
Check out this night light for improved night time safety. (affiliate link)
Outdated and worn equipment can contribute to falls.
It is necessary to stay organized and faithful with medication prescriptions, as well as updating glasses and hearing aids as needed. Checking cane tips and bottoms of shoes for wear and replacing when worn, can prevent a fall. Likewise, scheduling regular appointments with a podiatrist to keep nails trimmed and feet healthy is important.
Check out these replacement cane tips- make sure to order the correct size and type for your cane. (affiliate link)
Ask your physician for a referral to a fall specialist to reduce falls.
Occupational Therapists are masters at bathroom safety and equipment recommendations! If your patient or family member is having issues with repeated falls, or close calls, make sure to request an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist to assess your home and bathroom set up, make equipment recommendations, and instruct in training of safest techniques.
A Physical Therapist can help you develop an appropriate and challenging exercise program to maximize your balance reactions and help minimize your risk of fall. Don’t be hesitant to ask your physician for a referral, or call a clinic near you to pursue help.
As a physical therapist, and senior caregiver, I have found that it is important to ask a variety of questions, and to be holistic in my fall risk review.
I use this handy “3 Condition” reminder to help me discover possible reasons behind a fall:
***Clinicians if you are interested in becoming more influential in fall prevention, the most impactful course I have taken is the Fall Prevention Specialist Certification at Pesi. (affiliate link) My patients and coworkers respect the certification, and I am frequently referring to the information I learned to help my clients stay safe. I chose to be an affiliate for Pesi because this course was so helpful to me. Use this link for a discount!
Clinicians, check out the blog for this fall prevention packet !
Verbal and written communication, check lists, and accountability all contribute to improved safety!
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