A multidisciplinary clinic to assist in fall prevention is now being offered by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Joe Rosenthal, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, created the falls prevention clinic. Rosenthal explains that falls “are a big problem, and unfortunately, many people think falling is a natural process of aging, but in reality that’s not true.”

Rosenthal adds that much can be done to reduce the risk of fall, and “in our clinic, we are screening patients who may be an increased risk because of neurological, cognitive, or cardiovascular medical issues.”

A university news release notes that patients who are referred to the clinic are assessed from head-to-toe. The assessment, Rosenthal says, includes their history of falls, medical history, and a physical exam that includes testing their gait and balance. Patients are also asked to describe their home environment, including how many stairs they use in the home.

According to the release, some patients will be referred to outpatient physical therapy for exercises to strengthen certain muscles, increase their range of motion, and improve their gait and endurance to lessen the risk of falls. Rosenthal notes that patients will also be encouraged to make changes to their home environment. These include removing throw rugs, increasing lighting at the top and bottom of stairs, and installing grab bars.

The release reports that according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), a 2010 survey found that 17.3% of Ohio respondents aged 65 and older said that they fell during the previous 3 months. Of these 292,000 people who suffered at least one fall, 34% or almost 105,000 older Ohioans reported sustaining an injury that resulted in a doctor visit or restricted activity.

Nationally in 2012, the release adds, 2.4 million nonfatal falls among older adults were reportedly treated in emergency departments and more than 722,000 of these patients were hospitalized, according to the CDC.

[Source: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center]