Falls Prevention

Falls Prevention is the practice of identifying and reducing a person’s risk of having a fall. It is a two-stage process, which involves:

  • Assessing the individual (and their environment) to identify key risk factors
  • Applying interventions to reduce the likelihood of falls (including injury minimisation strategies)

A comprehensive assessment of someone’s fall risk will be based on a number of factors including their age, medical background, history of falls and current mobility.

Holistic factors such as balance, declining physical strength, eyesight, medication, nighttime toileting schedules and footwear choices are all considered when assessing falls risk.

Vista Healthcare: Our Role in Falls Prevention

Vista Healthcare has gained extensive experience in falls prevention, this is primarily through our work in residential aged care and community settings.

We employ both Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists who are engaged to visit a property to help with:

  • Conducting falls risk assessments, namely the Falls Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT)
  • Tailored exercise programs, such as the Otago Exercise Program, Sunbeam Strength and Balance program
  • Home environmental assessments and minor modifications
  • Education (for both clients and carers)
  • Equipment prescription and training

In addition to our extensive experience, we are also an ongoing member of the New South Wales Falls Prevention Network Community.

Our clinicians are mobile and visit people in their residences.

Common Causes of Falling

There are many factors (environmental, personal, etc) that can contribute to why someone may fall, and a falls assessment can be an important first step in understanding and mitigating those reasons.

A Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapists will perform assessments to determine

  • Age and frailty
  • Fear of falling
  • The impact of a physical or neurological disability
  • Reduced lower limb muscle strength
  • Impaired Walking patterns
  • Poor reaction time
  • Review of equipment (such as hoists and transfer devices) to ensure they are appropriate
  • Vision, lowered lighting, glare, contrast at flooring thresholds, etc
  • Changes in flooring surfaces
  • Footwear
  • Pharmaceutical management

Our clinicians will assess these factors and provide holistic recommendations on how to improve the safety of the patient.

The Right Time to Book a Falls Risk Assessment

We would suggest the correct time to contact an Allied health professional is when:

  • A person has a history of falls, a strong indicator that a person may have another fall
  • A person is fearful of falling
  • Has lowered confidence/capacity in moving or reacting
  • Has experienced a recent change in status such as a knee replacement or considering the use of equipment such as a walker/wheelchair
  • Post hospitalization
  • Struggling to walk
  • Complains of loss of balance

Interventions for Falls Prevention

Successful Falls Prevention programs will look at the many ways in which a person can be assisted and will be based on the identified falls risk factors. Falls Prevention may involve:

  • Individualized programs depending on the capacity of the person, individual goal e.g do you need to safely manage steps to get to first floor or  manage 200 meters to go the shops.
  • Improving physical attributes such as strength, flexibility, range of motion
  • Balance retraining and strategies
  • Prescription of walking aid to provide balance / support
  • Input from a multidisciplinary team (e. prescription of lower limb Orthoses by an Orthotist or correct footwear)
  • Home modifications such as doorway access, automated lighting, flooring reviews, hazard removal, rails for accessibility

Falls Prevention in Residential Aged Care

Within residential aged care facilities, falls rates are considered a mandatory indicator of quality. The incidence of falls increases as we age, so at Vista Healthcare, we consider our work to be critical.

Vista Healthcare has operated in numerous RACFs since our inception. We assist facilities to measure and lower falls rates. This includes

  • Individual assessments and interventions
  • Assessing patterns of falls, (e. a prevalent cause is night-time bathroom falls)
  • Creating safe environments (e. use of grab rails, pressure mats, lighting, appropriate equipment, cutlery, fixing uneven pathways, signage
  • Providing Falls Prevention Exercise Programs
  • Individual exercise program for frequent fallers
  • Identifying and implementing falls prevention devices such as sensor mats, chair sensors, room re arrangements
  • Assessing and recommending correct footwear
  • Implementing correct manual handling needs of individuals

Vista Healthcare provides contracted Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy to facilities which is ongoing. However, typically, falls risk consulting would take place over a 1~3 month period or based on the need of the facility.

Contact Vista Healthcare

If you or someone you live with may be at risk of a fall, we encourage you to book with an Allied health professional.

We will visit your home or facility to perform a comprehensive assessment. Our values are Compassion and Care.

From there, we provide evidence-based solutions to fit with the client’s needs, working together to reduce fall risk and maximise the good things in life!

Please use our contact page to get in touch.