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Helping Family Members to Deal
with a Fall Risk

by Steven Allred, MS,PT, and Jennifer Ellis, MS,PT
(Page 2 of 2)

These newer programs examine the potential causes through a detailed evaluation.  Working with the physician, specially trained therapists then develop and launch treatment plans that are customized for each patient.  The success rate is high.  Sponsoring home health organizations have begun to document patient outcomes demonstrating the ability of such programs to relieve pain, increase sensation and reduce the risk of dangerous falls.

As part of any fall prevention program, a therapist can make recommendations to the patient and caregiver about improving safety in a home environment.  The caregiver can follow through on these and other possible recommendations:

  • Keep floors clear and reduce clutter.
  • Ensure that floors are clean and not waxed.
  • Use non-skid throw rugs.
  • Install handrails or grab bars in stairways or bathrooms.
  • Make sure the home is well lit.
  • Use a sturdy step stool or ladder to reach high places.
  • Excellent do-it-yourself fall prevention information can often be found on Web sites of state or local health departments, and through local or regional fall prevention coalitions.

Balance programs can help to change the lives of patients and allow them to live more independently at home.  A Florida woman resumed her walking regimen and said that her life was worth living again.  An 87-year-old pharmacist was able to return to work.  Even a 100-year-old Hurricane Katrina survivor was made mobile enough to return to relatives in New Orleans. These new balance therapies can also help to reduce stress for caregivers and help them sleep at night, knowing that an older relative is safe from fall injuries that could send them to the hospital – or worse.

The message is clear:  there’s no reason for patients or their caregivers to suffer from a fear of falling when solutions are just a phone call away. 

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