Fall Risk Assessment in New Jersey
Patients of all ages are at risk for falling. Children, adolescents and adults often engage in activities that may result in falls. The elderly often do not have the muscular joint support needed to avoid falls. At Performance Rehabilitation in New Jersey, we offer fall risk assessments at our Totowa and Lafayette Township offices.
What is a Fall?
Falling is a serious and quite common problem for many elderly people. Each year, about one in three people 65 years of age and older have a fall. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury death among adults age 65 and older. Over the past decade, the death rate due to falls among the elderly has risen sharply. Falls have been shown to be correlated with injury, premature admission to nursing homes, decreased independent function, and even early death.
What are the Leading Causes of Falls?
The risks factors for falls can be categorized into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic fall risk comprises individual traits that can increase a person’s chances of falling. They are more prevalent among the elderly, and may be related to neurosensory impairment, some medications, or the presence of disorders linked to a higher risk of falling, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or osteoarthritis. The more intrinsic risk factors one has, the greater the chances of experiencing a fall.
Extrinsic fall risk factors are physical and social traits related to the external environment, not related to medication use or disease; falling in the bathtub, for example. Falls among those under 75 years of age are more often due to extrinsic factors than intrinsic ones. Falls are categorized as combined when both intrinsic and extrinsic factors exist.
Common causing of falling include:
- Decreased strength and balance in the legs
- Poor lighting or uneven ground
- Diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, seizures, neuropathy, dizziness, arthritis, and orthostatic hypotension
- Taking over four drugs, particularly antidepressants, sedatives, and anti-hypertension medications
- Any condition known to impair judgement, such as anxiety, fear, dementia, depression, and delirium
When you identify your own individual risk factors for falls, it is important to take steps to prevent them. There are known methods and strategies you can implement to lower your odds of having a fall.
Management of Risk for Falls
Our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation help prevent injuries by grading the risk to each individual of having a fall. We perform a thorough fall evaluation that includes a complete medical history, balance assessment, muscle strength evaluation, and an assessment of functional mobility. This information allows us to develop a risk assessment for falling that is unique to each individual.
Once the fall factors are identified, our staff cooperates with the patient in creating a customized treatment plan to help lower the chances or prevent future falls. These treatments are comprised of strength training, balance training, and education on fall prevention. The program is eventually transitioned into their home environment for long-term fall prevention.
Using proper risk assessment, most falls can be predicted and prevented. At Performance Rehabilitation, you are encouraged to be proactive when it comes to your health. We can assist you in preventing the damaging consequences of falls and treat any injuries caused by them.
Physiotherapy Goals for Patients Who are at Risk for Falls
Our goals in treating patients who are a high risk of falling are to:
- Prevent further falls by focusing on balance, mobility, and strength deficits
- Train patients in coping with future falls and minimize their consequences
- Educate patients in methods of getting off of the floor or how to call for help and keep warm
- Restoring self-esteem and confidence to improve overall quality of life
- Maintaining a safe living environment
Avoiding falls can protect you from severe injuries and decreased quality of life. If you or a loved one are at risk for falling or have experienced a fall, contact Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey, to schedule a consultation for a fall risk assessment.