Fall prevention assessment and exercise recommendations

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Walter, Jordan
Aitchison, Samuel
Gochenour, Katelyn
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INTRODUCTION: As the aging population of the United States rises, falls will become more prevalent. Exercise is an effective way of reducing falls in older adults and should be routinely prescribed to the appropriate patient. Although, screening tools, standardized algorithms, and fall prevention education tools are available to health care providers and institutions; only 8% of healthcare providers use these available resources. It is recommended that health care providers take part in preventing injuries associated with falls. PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to provide fall prevention assessment tools and exercise recommendations to reduce falls in the elderly. METHODS: Articles were compiled using four databases: MEDLINE, Cochrane, PubMed, and CINAHL. Search terms were: exercise, older adults, fall prevention, strength training, proprioception, aerobic, hip fractures, mortality. Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health were also utilized for information. RESULTS: Utilization of screening tools, such as the Center for Disease Control's "Stopping the Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injury" algorithm, will helps health care providers identify patients at high risk of falling. Moderate and high fall risk patients should be referred to physical therapy where further testing and therapy can be initiated. Low fall risk patients can be prescribed exercises and should be provided with resources for standardized exercise programs. Combination exercises using endurance, balance, and strength training have the greatest efficacy in reducing falls; a 22% reduction. Strength training reduces the incidence of falls; balance training was found to be effective only when paired with other exercise programs. More research is needed to definitively say endurance training alone is effective in reducing falls. CONCLUSION: Falls become more prevalent as the population ages. Healthcare providers are encouraged to assess their older patients for fall risk. Many screening tools are available to identify patients at risk. Combination exercise programs, including balance, endurance, and strengthening, are found to be the most beneficial form of exercise in preventing falls in older patients.

Presented to the 15th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 26, 2019.
Research completed in the Department of Physician Assistant, College of Health Professions
Walter, Jordan, Aitchison, Samuel, Gochenour, Katelyn. 2019. Fall prevention assessment and exercise recommendations -- In Proceedings: 15th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University
Wichita State University
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