UK's Chartered Society of Physiotherapy guidelines on falls prevention

woman fall

Prevention of falls is a major public health issue and this has been given focused attention by AGILE: UK Chartered Physiotherapists working with Older People. AGILE launched their new ‘Guidelines for the Physiotherapy management of older people at risk of falling’ at the World Congress of Active Ageing in Glasgow last week.

The document focusses on the key aims of; preventing falls;  improving older people’s ability to withstand threats to their balance;  preventing the consequences of a long life, and optimising confidence and reducing fear of falling. The authors provide key messages under each of these aims.

They also recommend exercise programmes, which should have a high balance challenge component, and be delivered at a high ‘dose’ of 50 hours – roughly twice a week for six months.

Here are their practice points

  • Establish the extent to which older people and their carers are able to participate in a falls prevention programme.
  • Use appropriate outcome measures
  • Use patient goal setting (as opposed to therapy goals)
  • Employ strategies for motivation and adherence
  • Consider supplementary interventions for those at risk of fragility fracture
  • Provision of mobility aids should be part of a broader rehabilitation programme
  • Clinical decisions should be based upon the best available evidence.

 The Musculoskeletal Elf’s views

The Musculoskeletal ElfThese are the first physiotherapy focussed guidelines on falls prevention. The exercise programmes recommended are those with a high balance challenge component and considerations should be given to those at risk of fragility fracture. Coincidentally these are the subjects of Cochrane Reviews by The Musculoskeletal Elf; ‘Exercise for improving balance in older people‘ and ‘Exercise for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women‘.  We also look forward to the updates of the Cochrane reviews on ‘Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community‘ and ‘Interventions for preventing falls in older people in nursing care facilities and hospitals

Do you treat older people at risk of falls? What outcome measures do you use to evaluate your effectiveness? What is your view on these guidelines, will they impact on your clinical practice?

Send us your views on this blog and become part of the Musculoskeletal Elf community.


Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+