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Princess Alexandra Hospital Physiotherapist, Thomas Petrie, says many factors are considered by physiotherapists when assessing a patient’s risk of falls in hospital.
“Age, cognitive status, pain, strength, sensation, medication and nutritional status, among other things are all essential to assessing a patient’s falls risk.
“What makes it challenging is many of these key factors will fluctuate through admission.
For Physios, function, strength and balance training are the main areas of focus.
“With inpatients, physiotherapy aims to assess and aid management of mobility which can be modified for the individual to help them regain muscle strength, endurance and balance with functional exercises,” he says.
“We also focus on educating the patient and their support network on managing risk factors for falls or further injury at home.”
Thomas says the reality is that all patients are at risk of falls but not all falls risks fit the perceived mould:
The benefit of the rehabilitation setting is it allows these vulnerable patients more time and opportunity to address some of the modifiable risk factors for falls after their illness or injury, and every member of the multidisciplinary team plays an important role in reducing these risks.”