Tag Archive for: fall prevention

Have you recently experienced a fall? If so, you are not alone. Each year, one in three adults 65+ experience a fall that requires medical attention. Falls can lead to hip fractures and other serious injuries. Falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented.

Outdoor Hazards & Safety

▶ Use a walker or cane for added stability.
▶ Wear warms boots with rubber soles for added traction.
▶ If sidewalks look slippery, walk on the grass for better traction.
▶ Carry a small bag of rock salt or kosher salt and sprinkle on slick surfaces.
▶ Beware of highly polished marble or tile floor surfaces in public buildings. Stay on carpet runners whenever possible.
▶ Allow for extra commute time to ensure safe travel.

Home Safety Tips

▶ Keep all rooms free from clutter, especially on the floors.
▶ Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes even at home.
▶ Remove rugs or use double-sided tape to secure rugs so they won’t slip.
▶ Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the shower or tub.
▶ Install easy-to-reach grab bars in the bathroom.
▶ Use a shower chair or transfer bench.
▶ Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.

How Can Physical & Occupational Therapy Help?

Maintaining proper balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. A physical therapist can help you prevent falls by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Occupational therapists can review your home environment for hazards and assess any individual limitations. By identifying these factors that contribute to falls, the occupational therapist can recommend strategies to safely perform daily tasks, modify the home environment, and change activity patterns and behaviors.

Talk to your doctor about your fall risk and ask if physical or occupational therapy could help. Be sure to have your doctor or pharmacist to review you prescriptions regularly.

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.

Article By:  PT in Motion, www.apta.org

Patients with low back pain (LBP) who see a single physical therapist (PT) throughout their episode of care may be less likely to receive surgery and may have lower downstream health care costs, researchers suggest in a study published in the December issue of PTJ (Physical Therapy). “Limiting the number of physical therapy providers during an episode of care might permit cost savings,” authors write. “Health care systems could find this opportunity appealing, as physical therapy provider continuity is a modifiable clinical practice pattern.”

Authors examined data from nearly 2,000 patients in Utah’s statewide All Payer Claims Database (APCD) to look for associations between continuity of care for LBP patients and utilization of related services such as advanced imaging, emergency department visits, epidural steroid injections, and lumbar spine surgery in the year after the first primary care visit for LBP. APTA members John Magel, PT, PhD; Anne Thackeray, PT; and Julie Fritz, PT, PhD, FAPTA, were among the authors of the study.

Patients were between the ages of 18 to 64 who saw a PT within 30 days of a primary care visit for LBP. Researchers excluded patients with certain nonmusculoskeletal conditions; neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury, that could affect patient management; and “red flag” conditions such as bone deficit or cauda equina syndrome.

Researchers found that greater provider continuity significantly decreased the likelihood of receiving subsequent lumbar spine surgery, noting that “disparate management strategies across a variety of providers might inhibit or prolong the recovery in a patient with a worsening condition and contribute to the patient eventually receiving lumbar surgical intervention.” They also note that a strong therapeutic alliance is associated with improved outcomes.

Contrary to authors’ expectations, high provider continuity was not associated with decreased use of advanced imaging, steroid injections, or emergency department visits. “The timing of physical therapy for LBP might have a greater impact on these outcomes than does provider continuity,” they suggest. Researchers did find a link between use of these services and the presence of comorbidities, previous lumbar surgery, and use of prescription opioids or oral steroids.

The average cost of care in the year following the initial primary care visit was $1,826 per patient. Costs were slightly less, at $1,737, for the 90% of patients with high provider continuity but rose to $2,577 for patients with a lower level of provider continuity.

While the study’s findings do not identify any cause-and-effect relationships, “it seems reasonable that physical therapists should consider approaches to managing patients with LBP that limit provider discontinuity,” authors write.

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

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

Finding the right therapy provider for your building can be a challenge. As assisted living providers handle increasing clinical complexity, you need quality rich, expertly delivered rehabilitation to meet the unique needs of each resident.

You need a therapy partner with expertise in the senior care industry that collaborate with your staff, doctors, hospitals and home care providers to provide a well‐rounded, strategic approach to aging in place.

Experts in Therapy for Senior Living Providers

Your Complete On-site Outpatient Therapy Program Includes:

  • Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Up To 7 Days a Week
  • Complete Management, Staffing, Scheduling and Billing
  • Therapy Exercise Equipment & Technology
  • Patient Satisfaction & Outcome Measures
  • Comprehensive Value—Added Services and Programs
  • Close Collaboration with Physician—Therapy is Directed by the Physician and Progress is Noted at Each Session and Communicated.

Set Your Community Apart

60+ Clinical Pathways
We utilize current practice standards and evolve clinical programs to achieve the maximum potential for even the most clinically complex patients.

  • Fall Prevention
  • Bone & Joint Recovery
  • Cardiac Recovery
  • Stroke/CVA
  • Pain Management
  • Arthritis

Dementia Specialization
HTS therapists are highly trained in maximizing each person’s ability with a dementia diagnosis. Our Embracing the Cognitive Spectrum Dementia Care modules are designed to provide person‐centered and intentional care delivery, while coaching your staff on programming and care mapping.

All Staff Training & Care Collaboration
Prevent and decrease resident falls with root cause-based programming. Improve strength, self care and confidence. Reduce hospital readmissions. Utilize training to all of your staff to address resident decline at every level. Work closely with home health care and other providers to develop and execute a collaborative care plan.

Improve Census & Outreach
Help create your message to share the benefits of having on-site outpatient therapy. Full marketing collaboration to increase your occupancy and provide a competitive advantage over your competition. Customized marketing strategies to strengthen outreach efforts to hospitals, physicians and community.

Whole-Person Wellness
We provide you with your own customized whole‐person wellness program including health and wellness assessments and workshops to create a powerful all‐campus program that improves the lives of every resident in your building. Wellness software that provides measurable outcomes. Library of specialty classes including personal training.

Keep Your Residents Strong, Independent & Living to the Fullest

  • Proactively Prevent and Reduce Risk for Falls
  • Maintain & Improve Mobility
  • Address Even the Subtlest Declines in Physical and Cognitive Health
  • Improve Activities of Daily Living
  • Improve Cardiopulmonary Health
  • Improve Muscle Strength & Stamina
  • In-depth Cognition Testing for Those Challenged with Memory Impairment
  • Reduce Effects of Progressive Conditions, like MS, Parkinson’s & Dementia
  • Improve Confidence in Social Situations
  • Teach Compensation Skills to Residents, Caregivers & Families
  • Initiate Wellness & Promote Successful Aging



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!

Difficulty maintaining balance are extremely pressing problems that could impact one’s safety and well-being at any age, potentially signaling the presence of a health problem. The people who are able to maintain good balance around the clock, in any given set of circumstances- whether they are standing still or moving-can control the position of their body with ease. A healthy sense of balance enables individuals to get up from their chairs in a matter of a few seconds or bend over without falling, walk on any type of surface without staggering, or climb the stairs safely. Read more

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

Healthy bones are an invaluable asset at any age, allowing individuals to move freely, conduct daily tasks at a normal pace, embrace healthy, active lifestyles and avoid pain and discomfort like the ones caused by osteoporosis. Read more