Falls in the elderly – risk assessment and procedding

Marta Podhorecka, Kornelia Kędziora-Kornatowska, Jadwiga Główczewska, Dominika Gębka, Marta Sucharska-Szymkowiak, Natalia Ciesielska, Remigiusz Sokołowski, Magdalena Weber-Rajek

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/MBS.2015.037

Abstract


The aging of society was an incentive to the development of many fields of medicine including geriatric physiotherapy. Rehabilitation in geriatrics involves a range of issues connected with the involutional and/or disease related changes in the organism of an elderly person. To highlight the most important ones, so called ‘great geriatric problems’ were distinguished. One of them are falls. The risk of falls rises significantly after the age of 65. Among people older than 65 the chances of falls are 40% higher than among younger people.

The article aims at showing the issues connected with the role of physiotherapy in falls prophylaxis in the elderly. The problem of falls in the elderly is mainly connected with the consequences of falls. Falls may lead to injuries, disability and even death. Falls prophylaxis should start with complex geriatric assessment. To assess the risk of falls a physiotherapist may use special scales: the stand up and go and the Tinetti test. After thorough analysis of the state of health of the elderly person appropriate prophylaxis measures may be chosen: removal of the environmental threats, appropriate selection of shoes as well as the assisting equipment, acute and chronic diseases treatment, pharmacotherapy modification, physiotherapy. Anti-fall rehabilitation usually focuses on balance training, expanding the range of motion, gait re-education and analgesic measures. In some medical centres special anti-fall programs are being developed, where physical activities and appropriate assisting equipment play the most important role. Modern physiotherapy methods enable individual anti-fall prophylaxis adjustment to the elderly person’s needs. The use of rehabilitation to diminish the risk of falls in the elderly is more and more common.


Keywords


falls; the elderly; geriatrics

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