Risk for Falling
Fall Risk Evaluation and Balance Training Program
Falls in older adults are very common and result in serious health issues. Nearly 35% of people over the age of 65 experience one or more falls per year. Almost 70% of all emergency room visits by people over the age of 75 are related to falls. These falls frequently result in hip, shoulder, and wrist fractures with pain, loss of mobility and lengthy recovery time.
At Physical Therapy Plus our expert therapists can assess your risk for falling by using a series of scientifically validated tests that can determine if you are at a minimal, moderate or severe risk. If a significant risk for falling is present, we will recommend a balance training program as a safety intervention. Such a program can help to improve balance during walking by addressing issues such as strength, flexibility, coordination, and loss of balance recovery strategies.
Participation in the Program
A physician's referral is required for entry into this program, which is based upon diagnosis and risk factors. Factors such as medical history, arthritis, hip or knee surgeries, osteoporosis or osteopoenia can contribute to the need for balance training. The initial evaluation takes approximately sixty minutes to complete. If a balance training program is indicated, then a customized program is designed for your unique balance difficulties as determined from the initial testing. This is not a "one size fits all" type of program. Your PT Plus therapist will design a program that is unique to your needs. Training sessions last about 45 minutes to one hour and usually take about four to six weeks to complete. Depending upon severity, sessions may be scheduled two to three times per week.
You will be evaluated on the first visit to determine if you are "at risk" for falling. This is accomplished through standardized tests that identify physical weaknesses and compromised balance reactions. Your evaluation may include state of the art computerized balance testing on our NeuroCom Balance Master equipment. A report which details the results of the evaluation, along with any specific recommendations, is sent to your physician.
The balance training program may incorporate range of motion exercises, stretching, strengthening, balance and coordination drills, and a variety of walking exercises. Some of the training may incorporate the use of light weights or various types of exercise equipment. Endurance and fitness training may also be included in your program. You will also be instructed in simple exercises to do at home every day to supplement your in-clinic program.