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Fall Prevention Basics from Brentwood Physio

Physiotherapy is highly effective in preventing and reducing the risk of falls and in the assessment and management of fall-related injuries in older adults.

In Canada, the average cost per fall requiring hospitalization is approaching $30,000. This significant economic burden highlights the need for increased falls prevention programs.

 

 Role of Physiotherapy in Falls Prevention and Fall-related Injuries

  • Physiotherapists are integral to inter-professional falls prevention programs and rehabilitation services for older adults who have experienced a fall.

  • Physiotherapy effectively improves strength, motor function and balance in older adults at risk of falling and those with fall-related injuries.

  • Physiotherapists assess individuals to screen for risk of falls and manage falls prevention programs.

  • Physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises, activities and interventions, and provide advice on managing environmental risks.

  • Falls prevention programs reduce both the risk and rate of falls and fall- related morbidity resulting in overall decreased costs to the health care system.

  • It is estimated that falls and fall -related injuries cost the Canadian health care system approximately $2.8 billion a year with $980 million alone spent on treating injuries related to falls.

Impact on Patient Experience

Falls are a major cause of injury, disability and mortality in seniors.

  • Physiotherapy interventions to prevent falls improves patient confidence and reduces the fear of falling that restricts physical activity.

  • Patient acceptance of falls prevention programs is high.

  • Patients value the benefits of targeted falls prevention programs, including physiotherapy, for reducing the risk of falls and preventing the occurrence of falls.

Impact on Population Health

  • Physiotherapist screening, assessment and interventions to prevent falls and fall-related injuries improves quality of life (QOL) by removing restrictions of activities that come from a fear of falling.

  • Physiotherapy programs, including balance and strength retraining, reduce mortality, hospitalization rates and transfers to nursing homes resulting in better patient outcomes.

  • Multidisciplinary falls prevention programs decrease the incidence of falls, fall-related morbidity and costs to the health care system.

  • Balance training by a physiotherapist improves quality of life, physical function, strength, balance, social interaction and overall wellbeing.

Impact on Health Care Costs

  • The reduction in health care costs associated with implementing a falls prevention program more than offsets the cost of the prevention programmes for specific patient populations.

  • The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a falls prevention program for high risk adults is estimated to be $5,310 per fall averted.

  • The cost of treating a fall is 1.85 times higher than implementing a falls prevention program.

  • Physiotherapist screening for risk of falls, and patient education, results in 2.2 fewer falls per 100 patients and reduces cost spent on resources to prevent and treat fall-related injuries by $2,804 per 100 inpatient falls prevented.

 Summary

  • The treatment of falls and fall related injuries is a significant economic burden.

  • Physiotherapist led exercise programs reduces both the risk and the rate of falls in older adults, while improving physical functioning, balance and muscle strength.

  • Falls prevention programs are more cost effective than treating fall-related injuries.

  • Physiotherapist screening for risk of falls reduces both the number of falls and the costs of fall-related treatment.

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