Fall prevention is a talk that all physicians should have with their senior patients. This particular population is more susceptible to falls, which in turn can lead to injury or worse. Here are some ways you can work together with your patients to create a fall prevention plan.
1. Review all medications. Discuss all current medications with your patients and see whether listed side effects can impair balance or otherwise contribute to falls. If a medication’s side effects could increase your patient’s risk of falls, consider alternative treatments.
2. Learn more about their living situation. Many falls occur inside one’s home, and talking to a patient – or his or her caregiver – about home improvements can lower fall risk significantly. Improving lighting in dim areas, installing railings and securing carpets can all help keep falls to a minimum inside the home.
3. Be on the lookout for vision and hearing problems. If your patient exhibits signs of vision or hearing loss, consider referring him or her to a specialist for further evaluation and correction. Impaired vision and/or hearing can increase one’s risk of falls during everyday activities.
For more tips to share with your patients, visit the National Council on Aging’s website.