A fall risk assessment helps to determine the intensity of falling. The assessment shows that you are at low risk, moderate rate, or high risk of falling. If your intensity of falling is higher, your healthcare practitioner may give you advice that will help you to prevent falling.
People at age 65 or more than this age fall easily. As per the study in the United States, a population of one-third of adults at age 65 falls in a year. Moreover, half of the people who work at nursing homes and healthcare centres fall once a year.
Many environmental and physical factors increase the risk of falling sick in older people. These include mobility problems, balance disorders, chronic illness, and impaired vision.
Apart from these, mild bruising, head injuries, broken bones, and stress and muscle strain can be reasons for falling sick. Sometimes, falling sick can lead to death in older age.
A risk assessment includes your falling sick history, medication use, physical examination, and environmental factors around you. Your healthcare practitioner uses a screening tool to analyse the risk of falling.
A fall risk assessment determines that how likely it is that you will fall sick. It is primarily used in older patients. The assessment usually includes:-
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An Initial Screening Test
It is the session of questions regarding your overall health, previous disease, medication use, and other problems, including walking & standing.
A Fall Assessment Tools
A set of tools determines your strength, balance, way of walking, sitting, and body postures.
For e.g:-Chair Stand check for 30 seconds:- This helps determine the strength and balance.
Note:- This is also known as fall risk evaluation, screening, and intervention.
What Is The Use of Fall Risk Assessment?
A fall risk assessment is typically mapped out if you have a low, moderate, or high risk of falling. Among older adults, fall can cause minor injury to severe injury or sometimes, it can lead to death.
The purpose of risk assessment tools is to identify the risk of falling and determine the most suitable plan for fall prevention and increase the flexibility and independence of patients.
What Are the Benefits of Fall Risk Assessment?
A good risk assessment will prevent people from unwanted harm. It is essential to analyse the risk and put safety measures to prevent falling. In 2005 the joint commission introduced minimising the risk of patient harm resulting from falls.
Apart from these, a group of medical organisations suggested that older people be evaluated for fall risk. The American Geriatrics Society motivated the healthcare practitioner to ask all older adults about their fall history of last year.
If an older patient has a history of falling in the last year, a gait and posture balance is recommended. Patients who do not perform the test procedure perfectly or lose balance in the balance test have more chances of falling.
Why do You need a fall risk assessment?
The American Geriatric Society and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) suggested fall assessment screening tests every year for all older adults 65 years and more than 65.
If your screening test reveals that you are at risk of falling, your healthcare practitioner will arrange an assessment programme. The assessment test includes a series of tasks known as fall assessment tools.
You also may require an assessment if you have specific symptoms. Falls always come suddenly, but if you are suffering from any of the listed symptoms, your falling risk is higher:
- Disbalance of body
- Trouble breathing
- Irregular heartbeat.
What is the procedure of Fall Risk Assessment Screening?
Most healthcare providers use an approach developed by the CDC called STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries). STEADI is the complete test of screening, evaluation, and intervention of your balancing and gait. Intervention is a preventive step that may minimise the risk of falling.
During the screening, you have to go through the question-answer round regarding your previous falls, injuries, and medication. The questions are like:-
- Do you have any history of falling in the previous years?
- Do you feel like shaking your body while standing or walking?
- Do you have frequent thinking of falling?
During an assessment, your doctor will check your body strength, balance, and gait with the help of the listed fall assessment tools:
Timed Up-and-Go (Tug)
The timed up and go (TUG) test checks your gait ability. Subjects are started from a standard chair, stand up and walk about 10 feet away from your regular stay, turn, walk back, and sit down again.
The test shows relevant reports for calculating the functional mobility of your body. The providers check the duration of your activity and help you understand the intervention.
30-Second Chair Stand Test
This test, similar to the squat position, determines your body’s leg strength and balance. Participants are asked to sit in a chair with a crossed arm-like squat position in this procedure.
When the provider gives the green signal,” participants stand up and sit down repeatably for 30 seconds. The provider will assess the leg strength and endurance.
4-Stage Balance Test
This test determines your balancing ability. For the screening of 4 stage balance, your provider may ask you to stand in four different positions and hold each standing pose for 10 seconds. Each stage would be challenging than the previous one.
First position:-Stand with your feet side-by-side
Second position:- Move the instep of one foot, so the instep touches the big toe of the other foot.
The third position:- Move one foot in front of the other, so the toe of one foot touches the heels of the other foot.
Fourth position:- In this position, you have to stand at one foot.
The outcome of screening tools:-
If you did not perform task number three for the required time, your chances of falling are high. Moreover, if you cannot stand at one foot for 5 seconds, you should start balancing exercise or join a fall prevention assessment to prevent the risk of falling.
Is There Any Risk to Fall Risk assessment?
A slight risk of falling during the assessment test may happen.
What Makes a Patient a High Fall Risk?
Low mobility or weakness in legs and lower back, age factors, conditions of poor gait, disease like Parkinson’s, often illness, and less body activity can be accurate the chances of falling. A person can increase the risk of falls if they use their mobile while walking.
What do the results mean?
The results may reveal your risk factors like a low, moderate, or high risk of falling in old age or people with some difficulties.
The results also may suggest which areas need addressing (gait, strength, and balance). According to your results, your doctor may recommend minimising your risk of falling. These are given below:
- Vitamin D supplement is recommended to make the firm of your bone health.
- Your doctor may reduce the dose or change the medication because some medication causes dizziness, confusion, and weakness of the bones.
- Your healthcare provider may suggest Daily Exercise maintain body balance and posture.
- A proper Eye Checkup is mandatory