Stepping up to prevent falls: a fall prevention program for post-acute rehabilitation
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Older adults who experience a fall will often sustain injuries which impact on their mobility and their ability to perform functional activities. Having one fall can lead to an increased risk of having another fall, and may also lead to a fear of the participating in functional activities, especially the activity that caused the fall. Every year, 3 million older adults are treated in the emergency room for falls, and at least 300,000 people are hospitalized due to falls (Centers for Disease Control, 2017). After hospitalization, some individuals require a stay in post-acute rehabilitation. In post-acute rehabilitation, these patients are at risk of having another fall, as they are in a new, unknown environment, and because they regularly practice mobility and functional activities with the goal of becoming independent. Preventing falls in the post-acute rehabilitation setting is critical because research has demonstrated that those who experience a fall in this setting have decreased functional outcomes and are less likely to return to their prior living environment. Stepping Up to Prevent Falls: A Fall Prevention Program for Post-Acute Rehabilitation is an interprofessional and multi-modal fall prevention program. The program consists of staff education, patient education, and implementation of environmental fall prevention interventions. The staff education component will include an in-service discussing the definition of a fall, the risk factors for falls, a fall risk assessment tool and interventions to prevent falls. Non-clinical staff will be educated on fall prevention strategies through posters in the breakroom. Patients will be educated via handouts and one-to-one discussions on how to prevent falls, the risk factors for falls, the consequences of a fall and what to do if a fall occurs. The goal is to decrease falls in order for patients to have better functional outcomes and be able to return to prior level of functioning.