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Fall Assessment for Senior Adults (Understanding Screening)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Falls are one of the biggest dangers to older adults – yet they tend to receive less attention than well-known chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension (also common among our older population). Unfortunately, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Twenty to 30 percent of these adults sustain a moderate to severe injury, according to the CDC.

Houston Orthopedic Doctor for Falls

Oftentimes, I’ll see a patient for the first time after a fall has occurred. Hip fractures are one of the more common outcomes of a bad fall. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As an orthopedic physician, I encourage my patients here in Houston and the surrounding areas to get screened ­ – before a fall occurs.

If you (or a parent) have experienced a fall, let your doctor know. Your physician may check you out for problems with balance and gait. If there appears to be an issue with balance/gait that makes you more susceptible to falls, then you may undergo a fall evaluation.

What Happens In A Fall Evaluation?

Your primary care doctor may perform some of the evaluation herself; she may refer you to a Houston orthopedic physician, cardiologist or neurologist for other testing. An assessment may include an evaluation of your medical history and medication usage. Some drugs, such as sedative-hypnotic drugs (for sleep trouble), are currently being investigated for their possible connection with falls in older adults. Additional testing may look at your vision, gait/balance, lower limb joints, brain function and cardiovascular health.

How to Prevent Falls In Older Adults

  • Stay active
  • Have your vision checked
  • Know what medications you’re taking. Be aware of interactions and potential side effects like dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Remove clutter, loose rugs, cables and other tripping hazards from the home.

Get Screened. Learn How You Can Prevent Falls At Home.

For help with fall prevention or advanced orthopedic care after a fall, call us at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics: (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.