Fall Risk and Recovery Program: Available at all STAR Locations
More than one in four people older than 65 fall each year, as do nearly half of those older than 80, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Falls can break hips and other bones, cause head trauma and even result in death. If you do avoid injury, fear of falling again may still keep you in the house and away from activities you once enjoyed.
Our Fall Risk and Recovery Program helps you stay on your feet. We protect your independence and help you safely live the way you want as long as possible. Just because you reach a certain age does not have to mean falls are inevitable or that you need to worry more than you should.
Why Choose STAR Physical Therapy to Prevent and Treat Falls?
Our therapists help you fully recover from falls. They also help prevent them in the first place, so you can avoid the emergency room visits and hospitalizations that often result.
We want you to feel confident about your balance and movement, so you can do the things you love. Our program offers:
- Experienced therapists: Physical therapists at all STAR locations can help you recover from fall-related injuries, as well as complete an initial assessment of your risk. We also offer specialized geriatric expertise, including the use of tai chi to prevent falls.
- Effective care: We have studied the best evidence available on assessing risk and preventing falls. Our comprehensive evaluation incorporates what we have learned to better protect you.
- Tailored plans: We work with you to create an individualized plan for improving your strength, stability and mobility. We account for your preferences, needs and goals. We also show flexibility in how we explain things since we realize people have different learning styles.
- Respectful approach: We make recommendations but never force anything. We treat you like the adult you are. It is your decision, and you are in charge.
Learn more about the benefits of choosing STAR sports therapy and physical therapy.
All STAR therapists now conduct a brief fall risk screening if you are older than 65, even if you come see us for other reasons.
An outside medical provider can also refer you to our program, including when you:
- Have already been injured in a fall and want to avoid another accident
- Have not yet suffered a serious fall but face challenges that put you at higher risk, such as a history of minor falls or problems with your balance (please tell your doctor)
Fall Risk Evaluation
We provide a thorough evaluation of your risk, whether you want to prevent your first serious fall or reduce the likelihood that you will suffer another injury. Our evaluation might take more than one session and assesses your:
- Medical and personal histories: We review any medical conditions you may have that could increase your fall risk, such as diabetes. We check your heartbeat and blood pressure. We ask whether you have fallen in the past, including where, why and how often. And we discuss whether you can likely get back up after a fall.
- Medications: We review which medications you take because some can cause dizziness, confusion or unsteadiness. Your risk for falling goes up with the number of these medications you take.
- Vision: We give you a basic vision exam.
- Strength and balance: We test your strength and range of motion, particularly in your arms and legs. We also test your coordination and balance, including the vestibular system in your ears that provides information about your motion, equilibrium and place in space. More than three-quarters of people older than 70 have a balance problem, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Learn more about strength and balance testing.
- Shoes: We examine the shoes you wear, including the pattern of wear.
- Walking and climbing: We watch you walk, assessing your speed and gait (the way you walk). We also watch you climb stairs and rise from one of our mats, arranged to copy the position of your bed.
- Home and daily life: We discuss your home and any potential hazards, such as rugs, steps, poor lighting or uneven surfaces. We also discuss your daily activities, how well you function and whether you use aids such as a walker or cane.
Therapy for Balance, Strength and Safety
Once a therapist completes your evaluation, we help you:
- Improve strength and balance: We work with you to create an individualized exercise plan that incorporates safe and effective exercises, such as tai chi.
- Make your home safer: We provide recommendations, such as removing tripping hazards, installing grab bars in your bathroom, putting railings on both sides of your stairs and using more lights or brighter bulbs.
- Adjust body mechanics: We show you ways to move safely, such as the best methods for getting out of bed or picking something up.
- Use aids: We recommend which assist devices you could benefit from and help you with any you may already have.
- Make appointments: We make referrals for any other health care providers you may need to see, such as your doctor to review your prescriptions or an optometrist or ophthalmologist to further examine your vision.
- Overcome fear: We help you determine which activities pose a real risk for falling and should possibly be avoided and which do not. Many times, fear of falling can keep you from activities that are actually beneficial.
To learn more about our services or make an appointment, please call a STAR location:
- Chesterfield — Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Orthopedic Center: 314.514.3636
- Creve Coeur — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital: 314.996.3050
- South County — Center for Advanced Medicine: 314.286.1000