The great majority of patients with a balance problem are not identified until a fall occurs, whereupon it is often too late for an effective intervention.
In an effort to address this issue, in April 2001 the board of directors of the American Geriatrics Society approved a new clinical practice guideline, ‘Guideline for the Prevention of Falls in Older Persons (AGS 2001)’, formed from the advice of the American Geriatric Society, British Geriatric Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
“Frequently older people are not aware of their risks of falling, and neither recognise risk factors nor report these issues to their physicians. Consequently, opportunities for falling are often overlooked with risks become evident only after injury and disability have already occurred.” AGS, 2001
The guideline recommends all physicians routinely assess all older patients, for the risk of falling and institute gait and balance therapy.
We provide a Falls Risk Assessment as part of our Fall Prevention Program.
What We Assess
Stability is determined by the integrity of our senses, our ability to process the information they provide and to output it in a meaningful way through our muscular system.
Maintaining ourselves upright on two legs requires continuous collection of complex sensory information about where we are in space and adjusting ourselves to our environment accordingly. Sometimes a fall occurs due to a pathology such as damage to the inner ear, or loss of feeling in the legs due to diabetes.
However more times than not there is no defined lesion and the cause is due to aberrancies in sensory input or central processing. Such processing anomalies can be hard to detect, as it may only become apparent under certain conditions such as turning our head whilst stepping off a pavement or an unexpected loud nose while standing up.
We need a test therefore that is validated (recognised), accurate, and versatile enough to measure our stability under a variety of conditions.
We use state on the art research grade Computerised Dynamic Posturography (CDP) to measure your stability and report on the likelihood of you having a fall. The test is quick and non invasive and disturbances in your posture can be viewed on a screen. We provide a report for you, (and your GP if you wish).
If you fail the test we then recommend a comprehensive assessment and an individualised program for you as part of our Fall Prevention Program.
Falls can be devastating. Our hospitals are full of patients with fractured hips and pelvises, and falls are the number one cause of death in the developed world.
It is not just the elderly who are at risk of a fall. Frequently we see children and young adults fail the test. Once detected, most often these problems are easily correctable.
To contact us for a falls risk assessment click here.
Please Note: This assessment is a screen for a balance problem. If you know that you have a balance problem then we recommend that you book for a comprehensive assessment in our Fall Prevention Program. Please call reception on 02 9913 7900 to make a booking and ask for a dizziness questionnaire.