ARTICLE | The Value of Physiotherapy in Fall Prevention
Physiotherapists are experts in keeping the body moving safely throughout an individual’s lifetime. Many think of physiotherapy as a rehabilitation tool for injured athletes, but in actual fact physios are working in many different areas of healthcare, and are committed to helping people of all abilities improve or maintain their level of physical activity.
Falls, and the injuries that come with them, are a real concern for older adults. Not only can they result in short term injury and all of the negative impacts that can have, they often result in a loss of confidence and mobility for the individual. A physiotherapist works with people to help improve balance, strength and confidence to help prevent the likelihood of a future fall. The increased balance and confidence that they then experience as a result of working with a physiotherapist, often leads to an even more positive cycle of increased activity for individuals, bringing along with it all the health and wellness benefits that regular movement can provide. Patients who participate in Fall Prevention programs, like balance training, report a higher quality of life through the increase not just in physical activity but also social interactions that increased movement can bring.
Physiotherapists can work with patients to assess their balance, strength and overall risk for a fall; they will then continue to work with the patient to provide a personalized program of realistic exercises for the patient to work on, and continue to monitor and assess their progress. A physiotherapist can also help a patient with assessing their need for mobility aids like a walker, cane or other device, and will help both in getting the patient accustomed to the device and in accessing appropriate funding if they are eligible.
Physiotherapists are dedicated to working in coordination with their inter-professional colleagues to support patient mobility, making them a strong asset in the prevention of first time or recurring falls in older adults. Working together with physicians, physiotherapists can help provide alternatives to other treatments like surgery or prescription medications, all while focusing on positive patient outcomes. The profession’s expertise is anchored in medicine, science, and evidence-based research all focused on keeping people moving at all stages of their life, and at all ability levels.
Most physiotherapists are skilled in working with older adults and can assess a patient and work with them to improve strength, balance and mobility. To find a physiotherapist in your region of BC use this Find A Physio tool on the Physiotherapy Association of BC’s website . And to find a physiotherapist who specializes in older adults, see this list .