Falls are a serious public health problem. In our area, the winter weather adds to the dangers of slips and falls, especially in older adults. Statistics show that one of every three people 65 years and older fall each year. Of those who fall, 20-30% suffer moderate to severe injuries. These injuries reduce mobility, independence, and increase the risk of premature death. Some of these falls can be prevented.
If you believe a loved one, or yourself, is at risk of falling, there is testing that can be done to assess your risk. Newark-Wayne Community Hospital has introduced an innovative, life-saving program for older adults.
Fall Risk Screening utilizes proven, evidence-based functional testing using the Biodex Balance System SD. Testing will assess your strength, walking speed, and safety. If a patient is found to be at risk of falling, a series of suggested interventions can be offered! These fall screening tests are safe and easy. They are performed by a licensed physical therapist. Best of all these tests take a few minutes!
The Biodex Balance System, consisting of a computerized platform and touch-screen control panel, measures a patient’s ability to maintain balance. Results are compared to stores averages of other healthy adults in your age and gender category. From these calculations a ‘risk factor’ can be determined. This allows our clinician to assess your risk of falling, and suggest a plan of action.
Risk assessments are very important, especially this time of the season. Along with risk factors, our winter weather presents additional hazards to increase the possibility of slips and falls. During the winter months, be sure and take additional steps to ensure your safety outside. Some tips include:
For more information, or to schedule your Fall Risk Screening, call Physical Therapy at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital at (315) 332-2289.
- Walking on treated sidewalks and walkways
- If you can, stay indoors until pathways have been cleared
- Watch out for ice and untreated surfaces
- Use a railing when available
- Take your time
- Ask for assistance if you need it