Published on September 04, 2012

Q&A: Balance and fall prevention Dr. Stuart A. Scherr

Improving balance and preventing falls

Stuart ScherrWith 36 years of experience as a board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist, Stuart A. Scherr, MD, director of Nazareth Hospital’s Balance Program, is well-equipped to help community members increase their stability and prevent life-altering falls. Dr. Stuart A. Scherr is an accomplished tennis player who also enjoys playing bridge with friends and family.

Q. Who benefits from the Balance Program?

A. Patients at risk for falls can experience poor coordination, unsteadiness or difficulty walking. They may also experience dizziness, leg weakness or difficulty performing everyday activities such as dressing and negotiating stairs. Those who have had surgery or an accident may need help recovering lost abilities or preventing further injury.

Q. Why the focus on fall prevention?

A. Falls can lead to death, disability and loss of independence. Fear of falling can limit activities. Our program is dedicated to increasing our patients’ safety so that they can walk without fear. Our goal is to enhance balance and maximize performance of daily activities.

Q. How does treatment get started?

A. The patient provides answers to a balance questionnaire and our therapist assesses muscle strength, joint mobility and fall risk. We combine this with a computer-based evaluation. The therapists and I review the data and together we create an individualized plan of therapy. We can then progressively increase the task difficulty in a safe manner. The patient is educated about what we are doing and why. At the completion of therapy, we reassess, determine improvements and often further prescribe a home maintenance program.

Q. How does Balance Master technology help?

A. This equipment has a mobile computer system that allows us to quantify the patient’s stability, their control of body movements in different visual conditions and their ability to vary movement velocity (quick or slow movement). We also can use it for therapy sessions and measure progress. Our patients can see their own progress in real time.