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Preventing serious injuries from falls

At St. Luke’s, we see a lot of patients over 65 who suffer injuries because of falls. St. Luke’s Fall Prevention Program is designed to help. For those with high-risk factors for falling, St. Luke’s offers education and exercises designed to help maintain balance and promote safety.

What causes falls?
There are many reasons why people fall. Sometimes medical problems or medications can be the cause. Other times, balance problems or muscle weakness can put you at risk.

High-risk factors for falling include:

  • If you have injured yourself in a previous fall
  • Vertigo
  • Poor vision
  • Depression
  • Lightheadedness
  • Certain medications
  • Poor footwear
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor lighting
  • Living with young dogs or cats that run around your home

How do I prevent falls?
Preventing falls often requires making multiple changes to both your physical habits and environment. For example, improving the lighting in your home can help. However, you could protect yourself even more by learning balancing techniques as well.

Fall prevention strategies include:

  • Ongoing exercise to improve balance and physical ability
  • Walking with a cane or other assistive device
  • Placing hand bars in or near the tub, shower and toilet
  • Lights to brighten up dark hallways in the home
  • Wearing proper footwear
  • Finding alternatives to medications that cause dizziness
  • Changing your eyeglass prescription

Ongoing exercise is particularly important for preventing and recovering from falls. Even leisurely physical activities such as walking can make a significant difference. Our physical therapists can perform a physical assessment and start you on a suitable exercise routine to help you prevent injuries from falls.

How does the program work?
You’ll be evaluated by a physical therapist to find out what is causing your falls or your risk of falls. You’ll then take part in a treatment plan. This plan may include strength training, balance exercises, stretching and educational topics on preventing falls. Each treatment session takes 30 to 45 minutes. The number and length of sessions will depend on your needs.

Is St. Luke’s Fall Prevention Program covered by insurance?
Most health insurance providers cover the cost of therapy. For questions about coverage, call the location where you plan to attend the program.

How do I enroll in the program?
St. Luke’s Fall Prevention Program is offered at multiple locations within St. Luke’s system. You will need a physician’s referral to enroll in this program. Talk to your primary care provider about you concerns, and ask if St. Luke’s Fall Prevention Program could be a benefit to you.

Referral required for this service. If you need one, talk to your primary care provider.

To establish care with a St. Luke’s primary care provider, call 218.249.4000 or find a clinic near you.

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