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The HTS proprietary “RISE: Falls Prevention & Alarm Reduction Program” is designed to provide the best tools and evidenced-based practices to reduce resident falls and improve safe movement. Implementing a robust fall prevention plan can help residents maintain healthy lifestyles and improve quality of life.

Falls Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in adults 65 and older. Your facility’s falls with major injury and other quality measures are being tracked and reported upon.

The HTS “RISE: Falls Prevention Program” aims to create a facility-wide proactive culture that anticipates and addresses patient needs, identifies patients at high fall risk and applies root cause analysis to determine causes of falls and future prevention methods.

Alarm Reduction

Alarms provide a false sense of security and may actually be a contributing factor to falls. The HTS “RISE: Falls Prevention and Alarm Reduction Program” focuses on educating the IDT on consequences of alarm use, strategies to create a proactive culture that anticipates and addresses patient needs, and a process to apply root cause analysis to fall prevention ultimately eliminating the use of alarms.

HTS RISE is now available for all partnering communities. Our proprietary clinical programs are just another way that we move our clients forward as leaders of rehabilitation in the markets they serve.

The use of a cane or walker has become the norm for most seniors today to help prevent falls. Ironically, these tools can be just as dangerous as they are helpful if they are not used properly. The CDC estimates nearly 50,000 seniors end up in the emergency room each year after falling while using a cane or walker. Health professionals are urging adults who use canes and walkers as walking aids to be properly assessed and fitted by a therapist to avoid fall-related injuries. Physical Therapists are trained professionals that are able to assess your individual needs to ensure that you are using the proper walking aid as well as make sure it is in proper working condition.

Tips for Using Canes & Walkers

  1. The walker or cane should be about the height of your wrists when your arms are at your sides.
  2. In order to be properly supported by a cane, you should be using it on the side of your body opposite from your injury or weakness.
  3. When using a walker, your arms should be slightly bent when holding on, but you shouldn’t have to bend forward at the waist to reach it.
  4. Periodically check the rubber tips at the bottom of the cane or walker. Be sure to replace them if they are uneven or worn.
  5. Wear flat shoes to provide a good base of support.

 

Therapy Can Help Reduce Falls & Improve Balance

Maintaining proper balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. A Physical Therapist works with individuals to identify risk factors and designs an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Occupational Therapists work with you to discuss changes and modifications that can be made around your home to help prevent falls from occurring. If you have concerns about your balance, ask your doctor if you could benefit from therapy.

As the average age of entry for licensed assisted living is 85 years of age, senior living providers are very focused on keeping their residents as independent for as long as possible. As a provider of contract physical, occupational and speech therapy in Assisted Living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), our goal is to proactively address functional and cognitive decline so that residents can maintain their highest level of ability. From what we see on a daily basis, and reviewing ER admissions and national reports, most functional declines in active adults happen because of five primary reasons:

Lack of muscle building exercise

  1. Environmental factors
  2. Chronic illness
  3. New injury or illness
  4. Medications

Functional decline means that a person shows a decreased ability to do daily tasks properly compared to their ability to do these same tasks three months prior. A decline often signifies the presence of an acute onset, a new underlying medical condition or exacerbation of an existing condition.

Falls are the single largest reason of decline among active adults. Falls can happen any due to any of the five primary reasons listed above. Think of a fall as the ultimate loss of balance. There are multiple factors to a fall that present themselves well before a fall takes place. Through QAPI, standardized therapy testing and formalized Fall Risk Management programs, we are able to peel back the layers to determine “root cause” for the fall. A strong Fall Risk Management program is often tailored to treating the root cause factor that caused the fall, rather than all of the risk factors a patient has for falling. Falls are due to intrinsic factors (illness or medications) may not be prevented easily. Falls due to extrinsic factors (environmental factors) can be prevented or significantly reduced with extra precautions and education.

Provision of safety devices such as: grab bars & handles, high friction floors and footwear, as well as even (meaning no shadows to throw off depth perception) high power lighting can prevent or reduce a significant number of environmental falls. Regular exercise focused on core and lower body strength, consistent monitoring of and review of medications and therapeutic interventions for ongoing medical problems can significantly help to reduce the number of falls associated functional decline.

Functional Decline could be physical and/or cognitive in nature. When partnering with senior living providers, we take special care to train all staff including environmental, housekeeping and dietary to identify functional and cognitive decline. This could be anything from “furniture walkers”, increased maintenance calls to someone coughing through a meal in the dining room. There are consistent characteristics for a resident at risk for falling:

  • Functional decline include difficulty with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) such as dressing or undressing safely.
  • Lack of balance, any unexplained bruises
  • Loss of flexibility
  • New pain, taking more medication than usual
  • New medication
  • Significant weight loss within 30 days
  • Speech impairment or inability to follow simple commands
  • Signs of anti-social behavior or depression, not participating in life enrichment as usual
  • Decreased activity tolerance or coordination, lack of attention
  • Decreased stamina or strength.

Everyone working around active adults should be trained and be able to report a decline to the clinical team. Although prevention is best for any decline, recognizing and reporting resident declines in a timely manner helps to manage the decline efficiently. Timely intervention will help the resident maintain or regain functional independence.

Aretoula Nahas is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and the Director of Outpatient Services for Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS). HTS is an independent, therapist-owned contract provider of physical, occupational, speech therapy and wellness for assisted living, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. HTS currently employs over 1,800 therapists and provides contract rehabilitation to over 100 clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. For more information, contact www.htstherapy.com.

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

Balance disorders are very common in older adults and are a major cause of falls. Balance problems can lead to injury, disability, loss of independence, and a limited quality of life. Maintaining proper balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls.

Therapy Can Help Reduce and Prevent Falls

Improve Balance: A Physical Therapist will assess your ability to balance while performing many activities. They will work with you on specific exercises that will train you on balancing while doing things such as catch a ball or reach for an item.

Build Endurance: Getting fatigued while walking can increase your risk of falling. Therapy can help you gain endurance through supportive exercises.

Increase Strength: Therapy will focus on strengthening your leg, hip and core muscles. These muscles are essential to mobility and will lessen your likelihood of falling.

Safety Awareness: Your therapist can make recommendations on how to make your living space safer in order to prevent falls. Also, help you with learning to walk with a cane or walker and adjust it to fit your height specifications.


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

Good balance is being able to easily control and maintain your body’s position. Maintaining good balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. Falling is the ultimate loss of balance and the leading cause of debilitating injury and premature death in older adults. Good balance is being able to easily control and maintain your body’s position. Maintaining good balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. Falling is the ultimate loss of balance and the leading cause of debilitating injury and premature death in older adults.  Each year, 1 in 3 adults over 65 fall each year. With millions of people falling each year, less than half will contact their doctor for help.

Common Risk Factors of Poor Balance:

  • Lower Body Weakness
  • Foot Pain / Poor Footwear
  • Difficulty Walking & Balancing
  • Vision Issues
  • Medications Causing Dizziness
  • Hazards in Your Home

What You Can Do to Prevent Falls?

Falls can be prevented. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk for falling.

  1. Ask your healthcare provider to review your medications.
  2. Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
  3. Get an annual eye exam. Replace eyeglasses as needed.
  4. Make your home safer. Remove clutter and tripping hazards.

Therapy Can Help Reduce Falls & Improve Balance

A physical therapist works with individuals to identify risk factors and designs an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Balance may be improved with exercises that strengthen the core, back, ankle, knee, and hip muscles along with exercises that improve the function of the balance system. Occupational therapists work with you to discuss changes and modifications that can be made around your home to help prevent falls from occurring.

If you have concerns about your balance, ask your doctor if therapy can help. When you receive a doctor’s order for therapy, our physical therapy team can start immediately to help your balance and fear of falling.

Resource: www.cdc.gov/steadi/; www.healthinaging.org

Maintaining good physical balance is important to all of us, especially those over 55. We know that when our balance is jeopardized, even slightly, we lose confidence in our abilities.  This fear of falling and general loss of balance are more likely to result in a fall that causes minor or major injuries. So, what exactly is balance and how does it work? Read more