A Special Program to Help Patients Prevent Falling Accidents
Some of the most popular TV shows use slapstick comedy that shows people slipping on banana peels and taking a hard fall. But there’s nothing funny about falling in real life, especially for older people. Indeed, even simple falls in people over 65 are a major cause of death and disability for that age group. That’s one reason Regents Park Boca created a Falls Management Program.
Our program was designed to understand the nature of a patient’s fall. For instance, was it an accidental fall because of tripping over an item? Or was it because of a loss of balance? Or how about a fall that may have occurred secondary to a medical condition such as syncope, dizziness, a TIA (“mini stroke”) or some other medical situation? A fall can even occur from an undetected vision problem not spotted in routine eye exams.
Falls can occur for any number of reasons, but once the reason is determined a comprehensive care plan to help prevent future falls is developed. The care plan is formulated after a thorough assessment of the patient’s current and past medical history, plus an evaluation by the physical, occupational and speech therapists and nursing professionals.
To determine appropriate interventions when cognitive issues are present, the team also assesses the patient’s specialized risk factors. Those factors may include dementia, denial, fear of falling, physical limitations and often depression, which is frequently associated with growing more dependent on others and losing the ability to go out with family and friends.
After all those assessments and with a solid care plan in hand, the team knows how to most effectively prevent a recurrence. They work with patients on strengthening, balance, posture and safety concerns. They also hold a discussion about the patient’s home environment and offer suggestions for improving safety there as well.
Of course, like most of our specialized approaches to care, education for both the patient and family members is also emphasized to help them learn how to avoid future falls by understanding the patient’s particular condition and any risk factors involved.
We realize that a fall can limit a patient’s ability to remain independent. We also know not all falls can be avoided. But with proper therapeutic intervention, education and support, falls can be significantly minimized.