We know about the risks of falling on ice- or snow-covered walkways and driveways in the winter. Dangers lurk indoors, too. A fall can be costly and devastating.
As doctors, you can help! Please talk to your patients about how to reduce the risks of falling.
Here’s how you can help
- Ask your older adult patients if they have fallen since their last visit.
- Talk to them about the consequences of falls, such as injuries, fractures, loss of the ability to live independently, limited mobility and decreased quality of life.
- Discuss the risk factors such as age, lack of activity, prescription drugs, hearing or visual impairments and unsafe home environment, including tripping hazards.
- Conduct a “timed get up-and-go” test during the patient’s annual wellness visit.
- Evaluate the fall risk and provide education, including recommendations and treatment such as an exercise program to improve balance, an eye exam, medication review, vitamin D and a bone mineral density test, if the patient is due.
- Suggest the use of a cane or walker and physical therapy, when needed, and follow up to make sure the patient is not having trouble following your suggestions and recommendations.
Our ongoing “Ask Away” campaign also educates our Medicare members about ways to reduce the chances of a life-changing fall. ConnectiCare offers the SilverSneakers® program at no cost to most of our Medicare Advantage members.* For more information about fall prevention, please check out these online resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
*Members of our Medicare Advantage special needs plan as well as some of our employer group Medicare plans do not have the SilverSneakers benefit.