ARTICLES / General /
Helping Family Members... /
by Steven Allred, MS,PT, and Jennifer Ellis, MS,PT
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
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
- 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
- Make sure the home is well lit.
- Use a sturdy step stool or ladder to reach high
- 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 –
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.