A Falls and Balance clinic for the elderly

K. D. Hill, J. M. Dwyer, J. A. Schwarz, R. D. Helme

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Abstract

A Falls and Balance Clinic for the elderly has been developed with the aim of identifying those at risk of subsequent falls, and recommending intervention strategies to reduce this risk. The physical and functional status of 149 clients referred to the Clinic are reported. Neurological and musculoskeletal pathologies were identified as the cause of falls in the majority of clients. Measures of gait velocity and stride length, and ability to stand on one leg were markedly reduce compared with normative data for healthy elderly. A number of other measures of balance, strength, and function are also reported. The results of a questionnaire about home environment indicated that only 28% of those referred had been assessed in their own home in the previous year. Home environment was considered a potential risk in a further 28% of clients and a home visit was instituted in these cases. Other intervention strategies included referral for further investigations (36%), Day Hospital (33%), provision of a home program of balance or strengthening exercises (27%), and medication change (15%). Issues related to the establishment, operation and long term evaluation of the effectiveness of a specialist Falls and Balance Clinic for the elderly are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiotherapy Canada
Volume46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • balance
  • elderly
  • falls
  • measurement

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