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Falls Prevention from the Occupational and Physio Perspective
Our Team Is Highly Concerned
Falls are a significant health concern for older adults. Why? Because a fall can result in serious injuries such as a hip fracture, deep cuts, or head trauma.
In Singapore and Asia, falls pose a growing public health problem. And the incidence of falls is expected to increase as the population ages.
Statistics and Facts illustrate the danger of falls among older adults in Singapore and Asia
- In Singapore, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisations and death among older adults aged 65 and above. Between 2014 and 2018, there were over 14,000 hospitalisations. And over 1,200 deaths due to falls among older adults in Singapore. (Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore)
- In Asia, falls account for 37% of unintentional injury deaths among older adults. And falls are the second leading cause of death after road traffic accidents. (Source: World Health Organisation)
- With ageing, the risk of falling increases. In Singapore, the fall incidence rate among older adults aged 65 and above was 3.6 per 100 person-years in 2018. And the fall incidence rate increased to 7.5 per 100 person-years among older adults aged 85 and above. (Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore)
- Eventually, falls lead to a steep decline in health and quality of life among older adults. And older adults who fall may suffer from physical injuries, loss of confidence, fear of falls, and social isolation. Also, falls lead to increased healthcare utilisation, functional decline, and disability. (Source: World Health Organisation)
Prevention Is Key Key Key
Did we say “key” more than once? Why? Given the significant impact of falls on older adults’ health and quality of life, they must start fall prevention by strengthening. And here are some reasons why fall prevention by strengthening is the utmost important thing for people aged over 60:
- Firstly, falls are preventable through simple interventions. Such interventions include exercise, home modifications, and medication management. (Source: World Health Organisation)
- Next, falls prevention by strengthening program improves older adults’ physical function and quality of life. And examples of such programs are resistance exercises and balance training. In addition, studies have shown that such programs reduce falls and improve physical function among older adults. (Source: Cochrane Library)
- Lastly, falls prevention reduces healthcare costs. And it is associated with reduced healthcare costs in hospitalisations and rehabilitation. In Singapore, a fall prevention program for older adults was cost-effective, with a return on investment of 1.7. (Source: BMC Geriatrics)
How a Multidisciplinary Rehab Team plays a significant role in helping the population, their families, and the healthcare system
As the ageing population grows, the healthcare system faces a heavier burden to care for more older adults being hospitalised. And to reduce the strain on the healthcare system, the solution is multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams. Why? Because they are effective in improving older adults’ quality of life. So let’s take a look at these studies that demonstrate the benefits of such a team:
- Firstly, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined the effects of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program on older adults who had undergone surgery for hip fractures. And the program included physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dietary counselling. Eventually, the results showed that participating patients had better functional outcomes and a shorter hospital stay.
- Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine looked at the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program for older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And the program included physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and dietary counselling. Eventually, the results showed that participating patients had better exercise capacity, improved lung function, and better quality of life.
- Likewise, a systematic review published in the Journal of Ageing Research found that multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams reduced the risk of hospitalisation and improved functional outcomes in older adults with chronic conditions such as heart failure and diabetes. And the review included studies that evaluated multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs that comprised physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietary counselling, and social work.
- Lastly, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association examined the effects of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program on older adults with dementia. And the program included physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive therapy. Eventually, the results showed that participating patients had improved functional outcomes and a lower risk of falls.
Hence, these studies demonstrate the importance of multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams in fall prevention. And the multi-disciplinary team usually consists of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, exercise therapists, massage therapists, and stretch therapists. As a result, the team helps the ageing population with improved quality of life. And it benefits the families of the ageing population by supporting older patients who face challenging rehabilitation for fall prevention. Eventually, it reduces the strain faced by the overburdened healthcare system.
By preventing falls from happening, our team improves functional outcomes, reduces hospitalisations, and improves the quality of life for the general population.
So feel free to Whatsapp us for a free consult on the Falls Prevention By Strengthening Program.
Lifeweavers is a multi-disciplinary therapy team of highly experienced rehabilitation clinicians consisting:
We also work with rehab doctors, counsellors and links up with support groups, social prescriptions and external vendors with other specialised services or equipment to assist our clients every step of the way on their recovery journey.