A recent survey by the Hartford Foundation has revealed that only 19% of older adult patients have had their MD talk with them about fall prevention. This is alarming given the fact that falling is the cause of 90% of all hip fractures and is the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths in older adults.
We recently interviewed Dr. Dianne Martin, a Fremont, CA-based physician, about what she looks for in assessing whether or not someone is a fall risk. “The patients most likely to take a fall are ones that have balance and mobility problems, decreased muscle strength and are taking medications that affect balance.” She has found that patients who have even minor falls become less confident and lose their feeling of security when walking.
When a patient tells her about having a fall she recommends the Fall Prevention program at LIFE ElderCare. “Having someone who comes to their home really motivates them and gets them excited to participate,” she says.
Dr. Martin would like to see more physicians ask their patients whether or not they have had a recent fall because if the fall is minor, many patients forget to bring it up. If the patients says yes, it gives the physician a great opening to talk about the importance of fall prevention programs. “More and more older adults want to age independently in their own homes,” says Martin. “Whatever we can do to make this a reality is certainly a plus.”
Learn more about LIFE ElderCare’s Fall Prevention program.
View our Fall Prevention Coordinator’s presentation at the 2012 California Wellness Foundation’s Conference on Healthy Aging.