Published on April 09, 2012

Reducing the risk of hip fractures from falls

Falls are a leading cause of death for older adults.

As we age, changes in our muscle, vision and bone strength, plus the medications we take, may raise our risk of falls.

hip jointIn people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of death, disability and loss of independence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To treat people with fall-related injuries such as hip fracture and to empower those at high risk for falls, Nazareth Hospital recently launched The Balance Program.

“If a patient falls and is injured, the outpatient Balance Program can play a pivotal role in returning them to functional independence,” says Sunita Mani Varughese, director of the Nazareth Hospital Center for Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Balance. “Another major goal is to prevent hip fractures and other injuries by reducing the incidence of falls in our community.”
The Balance Program is primarily intended to treat patients with a gait or balance dysfunction resulting from an orthopedic condition, long-term bed rest, an inner ear problem or a neurological disorder such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

New technology

The Balance Program’s certified physical therapists are aided by new technology called the Balance Master®. This computerized device allows the therapy team to assess a patient’s balance while standing and moving. They can then create an individualized plan for further strength, stability and gait training.

“The CDC recommends combining exercise with fall prevention strategies,’” says Varughese. “We’re following that recommendation to help people walk without fear.”