Fall Prevention is important for all ages
Anyone is susceptible to an accidental fall, the elderly are often more at risk. Many slip on ice in winter and that is why November is Fall Prevention month. We decided to do another blog post about it in May as it can happen at anytime of year, even in the summer. We are more active on our bikes and rollerblades as well as playing a variety of sports so it’s important to keep safe. 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.
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.
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.2
• 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 QOL, physical function, strength, balance, social interaction and overall well being.
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.
Fall Prevention 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.
Falls are responsible for many injuries and disabilities especially in the elderly.
Every 1 in 3 Alberta seniors will fall. There are many tools available for assessing your risk of falling.
Thank you for reading and look forward to seeing you in our clinic!