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Fall Prevention Tips for Elderly Patients
last updated:
Mon, 5/24/2010 10:00 AM
As a home health physical therapist, I go in and assess and teach patients and family members how to prevent falls. Each time I make a visit I reinforce these tips:
  1. Use nightlights 
  2. Keep walkways clear especially to bathroom
  3. Have patients wear slippers, shoes, or slipper socks with rubber treads when up walking for greater traction 
  4. Encourage patients to try to get up slowly. Sit for a moment and do ankle pumps to prevent dizziness from blood pressure dropping and promote circulation so when he/she stands the blood pressure does not drop lower 
  5. Use a walker or cane to stabilize your balance for support if there is a problem with unsteadiness. 
  6. Use a temporary bedside commode at night if alone or at risk of falling. 
  7. Some may need to use nighttime incontinence pads to improve confidence and reduce the need to rush to the toilet. 
  8. Use a baby monitor in the bedroom so if a patient calls for help the one assisting can hear easily and provide needed help. 
  9. If the patient is alone always keep a portable phone so if there is emergency or problem he/she has security to reach someone quickly.

Something to keep in mind that if your elderly family member is having falls and not sure why talk with the physician about ruling out a UTI (urinary tract infection).

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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