FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Have You Identified Your Patients at Risk for Falling?
As a healthcare provider, your patients trust and depend on you to treat their health conditions as well as to help prevent them. Familiarizing yourself with the factors that put your patients at risk for falling will help you to identify patients at risk for falling and prescribe a program that is tailored to their needs.
Falling is often the result of many complex and interconnected risk factors. Risk factors for falling can be internal or external.
Internal Risk Factors Considerations
Neuromuscular Lower-extremity weakness, loss of movement, functional
decline, hypotension, CVA, Parkinson’s, stroke, neurological
disorders, seizure disorder, syncope, unsteady gait, chronic/
acute conditions Lower-extremity weakness, loss of movement,
functional decline, hypotension, CVA, Parkinson’s, stroke,
neurological disorders, seizure disorder, syncope, unsteady
gait, chronic/acute conditions
Orthopedic Joint pain, arthritis, hip fracture, limb amputation, osteoporosis,
Perceptual Impaired hearing/vision, somatosensory deficits/neuropathies,
Psychiatric or cognitive Delirium, cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease,
depression, wandering, confusion/disorientation, fear of falling
Medication side effects Hypotension, muscle rigidity, impaired balance, extrapyramidal
symptoms (tremors, uncontrolled movements), decreased alertness
Risk Factors Considerations
Medications Anti-hypertensives, diuretics, laxatives, anti-psychotic agents,
antihistamines, tranquilizers, narcotics, hypnotics, H-2 blockers,
proton pump inhibitors, anti-diabetic agents, anti-coagulants,
aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
Appliances and devices Pacemaker, assistive devices, restraints, poorly fitting
Environmental hazards Glare, poor lighting, slippery floors, uneven surfaces, foreign
objects, patterned carpets, reaching, incontinence, crowded
Other Suboptimal care, fall in last 30 days, multiple diagnosis, history
of falls, sleep disorders
Reducing falls in older adults often require multifaceted interventions in order to be successful. Additionally, a program should also be tailored to the patients’ needs because risk factors vary among patients.
Prior to prescribing a fall prevention program, it is recommended that healthcare professionals complete a falls assessment on their patient. Please refer to the Tools page to access resources commonly used to aid with a fall risk assessment. Additionally, the Guideline for the Prevention of Falls in Older Persons, published by the American Geriatrics Society is useful resource for healthcare providers.