Older adults who received physical therapy while in the emergency department (ED) for a fall experienced fewer fall-related repeat visits to the ED, suggest researchers in an American Geriatrics Society study.

The study was published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Using Medicare claims data from beneficiaries (aged 65 and over) across the United States, the researchers examined differences in 30-day and 60-day ED repeat visit rates among older adults who visited the ED for a fall and who received PT services in the ED, in comparison to those who did not receive post-fall PT, explains a media release from the American Geriatrics Society.

These services can include getting information, a diagnosis, and a referral for follow-up PT care after discharge.

People who died during the 30-day and 60-day follow up period were excluded from the study.

After reviewing the data, the researchers conclude that receiving PT services in the ED during an initial visit for a fall was linked to a lower chance of returning to the ED for another fall within 30 and 60 days, according to the release.

EDs could play an important role in lowering fall-related ED visits, primarily by connecting people treated for a fall to appropriate follow-up care.

However, older adults who visit the ED for a fall may not be receiving the kind of examination and referral for physical therapy services that they need, the researchers suggest.

“In our sample, only 3.2 percent of older adults who had a fall-related ED visit received PT services during that visit,” they state in the study, per the release.

[Source(s): American Geriatrics Society, EurekAlert]