Falls Prevention

Falls are the single biggest reason for admission to A+E departments in the UK, and can lead to broken bones, loss of confidence, reduced mobility and a loss of independence.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidlines on falls prevention in older people in 2013The guidelines recommend that older individuals who are at risk of falls should be assessed for deficits in confidence, vision, hearing, continence, walking pattern, strength and balance.

The guidelines also recommend that individuals who have a history of falls or are at risk of falls should be given a multifactorial intervention program including balance and strengthening exercises alongside further medical assessment.

Physiotherapist's can complete a comprehensive falls assessment, highlighting deficits in balance, muscle strength, coordination and walking pattern. Following the assessment they can refer to the appropriate specialists and provide the individual with an exercise program targeting the deficits which were highlighted in the assessment.

We can advise and issue the patient with walking aids (sticks, elbow crutches, walking frames) to reduce further falls and improve their walking pattern. Research has shown that exercise is an effective tool in lowering falls risks in the elderly, highlighting that it should be part of a falls prevention programme.

We can also look at the patient on their stairs, ensuring safety at all times and using it as a tool to improve their muscle strength. As well as looking at improving the individual's physical abilities, we can also look at improving the patient's awareness of falls, which will improve their confidence and reduce risk of falling in the future.

If you or an elderly relative have lost their confidence to come out of the house, please do not worry. Our company offers a home visit service, assessing the patient in their home environment. This is extremely beneficial as it allows the physiotherapist to see how the individual will manage in their own home, as well as setting realistic goals for their rehabilitation.

As well as reducing the risk of falling, we can also treat specific injuries that people have suffered from secondary to a fall. This may include a broken wrist (Colles' fracture), broken or sprained ankle.

I fell last year and broke my hip and have not managed to recover to my normal level of mobility. Can physiotherapy help?

Yes. An injury like a broken hip can lead to many problems such as reduced strength, reduced confidence and reduced balance, impacting on your quality of life. A qualified physiotherapist can complete a comprehensive assessment and then help recover your strength, balance and confidence with an exercise program tailored to your individual needs. The physiotherapist can also discuss the risk factors associated with falling, helping you limit the likelihood of it occurring again.

I have never fallen but I feel that my balance is worsening and I'm fearful of falling. Can physiotherapy help?

Yes, an exercise program designed to improve your strength and balance can also improve your confidence and reduce the risk of you falling. This can be prescribed by a physiotherapist, targeting your individual needs. Poor balance is a major contributing factor to falls and balance may be developed and improved by using treatments that involve destabilizing activities and exercises. It is therefore important for balance and proprioceptive exercises (defined as exercises that improve stability and neuromuscular control) to be used in falls prevention programmes. The exercises are designed to be as functional as possible, aiding your balance and proprioception within your home environment for completing certain daily tasks.

If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.