Best Practices in Fall Prevention – When you want to make a change for your health, you want to know about best practices. Best practices are strong recommendations that clinicians (doctors, occupational therapists, etc.) use to provide their patients with an effective intervention (treatment or modification).
The clinicians base these recommendations on evidence in the clinical unbiased literature. Evidence found that the intervention improved the health outcome, and the conclusion is that the benefits outweigh the harm.
This is a big deal. The evidence is what should guide all good practice. It is why you buy a car with safety ratings that are independently researched, and not just the word of the company that is trying to sell you a car.
Fall Prevention is a big thing. Here are a few startling statistics:
- 1 in 3 older adults in Canada fall each year (over 65)
- 50% of falls which resulted in hospital admissions occurred in those 65 and older
- Falls cause more than 90% of hip fractures in seniors and 20% die within a year of the fracture
(Public Health Agency of Canada, Report on Seniors’ Falls in Canada, 2005)
So, when our team at LDOT Services were looking at Best Practices for Fall Prevention; we looked at the literature and found what the American and British Geriatric Society recommended as best practice.
With respect to ‘Assessment’ – the following is recommended:
A multifactorial fall risk assessment should be performed by clinicians with appropriate skills and training, (Occupational Therapists have this training) including a focused history, physical examination, functional assessment (watching clients actually do things) and an assessment of their environment.
With respect to ‘interventions’ or ‘treatment’ – the following should be “Best Practice”.
- Assessment should include identifying hazards in the home, making recommendations to eliminate the hazards, and providing options to promote the safe performance of daily activities
- Adaptation or modification of the home environment based on the assessment criteria above
- Exercise, particularly balance, strength, and gait training
More importantly – the following was NOT recommended in that there was fair evidence found that the intervention is ineffective, or that harm outweighs benefits.
- Education should not be provided as a single intervention to reduce falls in older persons living in the community
Other evidence that was strong was that vitamin D supplements should be taken by persons proven to have insufficient vitamin D intake. The only way to know whether this is an issue is to consult a doctor – and this is our recommendation.
Our practice is best practice. We provide a multi factorial assessment. We provide recommendations to eliminate hazards within the home and provide options to promote the safe performance of daily activities.
We can provide a list of vetted contracting companies that specialize in home adaptations.
We can work with the contractors to ensure you get what you need to make the living safer, and avoid what may put you in harm’s way.
We provide in home and pool exercise programs though our team of Occupational Therapy Assistants. And by using Occupational Therapy Assistants we ensure these programs are accessible and financially feasible for the participants. For information on these programs or any of our Occupational Services; please contact us directly; you will reach a live knowledge representative at either our Hamilton Office: 905-481-1122 or our Toronto Office: 416-907-6287.
Alternatively, you can email us directly anytime and one of our helpful representatives will respond very quickly.