What is a fall?
A fall is defined as any event that leads to an unplanned, unexpected contact with a supporting surface, such as the floor or a piece of furniture that is not the result of a push or shove or the result of a medical event, such as a heart attack or fainting. A near-fall is a stumble or loss of balance that would result in a fall if you were unable to catch yourself.
How can physical therapy help?
A neurological-rehabilitation plan is developed based on your individualized goals. A physical therapist will help you with the following:
- Assess your risk for falls
- Design an individualized plan for your fall-prevention needs
- Help you make your home as safe as possible
- Provide you with appropriate exercises and balance training
- Perform gait training on uneven surfaces and stairs
- Teach you how to overcome the fear of falling
- Help your body learn how to react if you experience a loss of balance
- Assist you with endurance training
- Assist with pain management
We will also work with other healthcare professionals, such as an occupational therapist or speech language pathologist, to address any underlying medical conditions that could increase your fall risk.
What to expect during your consultation
A physical therapist will conduct a falls evaluation in the clinic as well as a home-safety evaluation in your home. We will determine what specific treatment program is appropriate to help you address and prevent falls.
Fall Prevention Tips
If you are at risk, consider these fall prevention tips:
- Exercise. Consider a physical therapy evaluation to assess your balance and risk for falls. The physical therapist can also help you develop a customized exercise routine.
- Medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications to see if any of them increase your risk for falls.
- Vision. Ask a doctor to check your vision every year. If you wear glasses, keep them clean.
- Changes at home. Make small changes around your home to decrease tripping and fall hazards:
- Get rid of clutter and trip hazards from floors
- Repair loose floorboards
- Secure rugs to the floor or remove them
- Keep areas where you walk well lit, especially at night. Add night lights to your bathroom and bedroom
- Install grab bars in your bathroom and shower
- Consider using a tub bench so that you can sit down while you shower
- Hold onto railings when you go up and down stairs
- Place non-slip mats in bathrooms
- Assistive devices. Use an assistive device if you need it. Canes and walkers can allow you to better access the community safely and confidently.