When does a simple slip of the foot mean something more serious? When does thinking you’re “just klutzy” stop being an answer and start to raise serious concerns? Medical professionals are finding more and more that these occurrences are rarely a one-off, and more often an indicator of a more complicated issue. And with that realization, specialists are championing a shift from providing strictly reactive treatment to facilitating more proactive care. Leading the charge at Parkview Hospital Randallia is Dr. Fen-Lei Chang, MD, PhD, Medical Director, and Marianthi Hatzigeorgiou, Program Coordinator at the Fall Prevention Clinic; Parkview Center on Aging & Health.
Falls remain the most common cause of traumatic brain injury and fractures of bones/hips. Severe or frequent falls can also contribute to the loss of independence. In light of these risks, acknowledging any risky behaviors, habits, and hazards that lead to trips and slips can help begin fall prevention.
“We all like to downplay things and think it’s nothing major, but an increased fall frequency leads to higher risk for severe injury and loss of independence as a result of injury. It’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. There are so many people facing the same thing. At the Clinic, we feel that one fall is one fall too many,” Marianthi said, “and we are here to better understand the causes of falls so that we can appropriately help.”
Parkview’s Fall Prevention Clinic provides assessments for anyone noticing a change in balance or tendency to fall, and provides the collaborative expertise of multiple specialists. The unique, multidisciplinary approach provides an opportunity for individualized, comprehensive fall prevention, including therapies, exercises, home assessments/environmental risk assessments, medical reconciliation, neurological workup, and discussion of available resources. Just 20 months into the program, they have found about 89 percent of their patients who experienced frequent falls were living with an undiagnosed neurological condition. These patients receive a plan of care tailored to their specific needs and challenges, as well as an explanation as to why they’re falling or not as stable.
Ask your physician if a referral to the Fall Prevention Clinic is appropriate for you. They are located in Parkview Hospital Randallia, 2200 Randallia Drive, 2nd floor east, Fort Wayne, IN 46805, (260) 373-4443.