Nurse organization works to prevent falls among elderly
The not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) recently held a free workshop in East Harlem to educate the neighborhood's elderly population on how to prevent falls, according to AmsterdamNews.com.
"As a clinician and a physical therapist, I've done research on falls and working in home health care, it's very clear that many older adults who have an injury have that injury because they fell," said Dr. Eileen Bach, VNSNY's director of rehabilitation quality assurance and education services. "None of us can make ourselves younger, but there are other factors that we can be proactive about and hopefully lower our risk of falls by knowing about it."
The organization's health plan for Medicaid and/or Medicare eligible New Yorkers, VNSNY CHOICE, sponsored the workshop. According to the group, a senior is taken to the emergency room every 17 seconds due to a fall, with 70 percent of those falls taking place at home.
Falls can play a major role in the responsibilities of a physical therapist job. Along with treatment and sharing best practices such as at the aforementioned workshop, therapists can help with alternative prevention programs. According to the Mayo Clinic, a physical therapist can customize an exercise program to help the elderly improve their balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait. A therapist's knowledge of muscles, joints and how to improve and strengthen them can be a great asset to the elderly. In addition, with the referral of a doctor, occupational therapists can help craft other fall-prevention strategies, such as an assistive device. Therapists can help significantly decrease the number of elderly accidents due to falls.
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