Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)
Session and Year of Graduation
Laura Frey Law
Background: Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury occurrence among adults aged 65 years and over. Fall frequency and resultant injuries, loss of independence, and death continue to rise annually. Although literature has determined the top risk factors, and the availability of fall prevention care has become more widespread, the aging population continues to fall with no sign of change. Studies have identified the seven greatest risk factors for falling, and of those seven, few are actually modifiable. When it comes to fall prevention, the most common interventional recommendation to decrease fall frequency is exercise prescription. Physical therapists, as movement experts and direct access providers, have the greatest potential to address the functional deficits faced by aging adults and create individual specific interventions focused on gait, balance, and strength in order to reduce fall frequency. Case Description: This case study follows a 79 year old female living at home who underwent a course of outpatient physical therapy after a recent increased fall frequency. Outcomes: A total of 15 billable visits resulted in Dynamic Gait Index improvement by 6 points, MiniBESTest balance evaluation improvement by 14 points, and Otago exercise difficulty progression from Level A to D and B to D for strength and balance retraining, respectively. Discussion: The purpose of this case study is to present evidence supporting the physical therapist’s role in reducing fall frequency and improving independence through application of scientifically supported interventions. Positive change in objective strength and functional improvement may suggest that the application of the Otago Exercise Program (OEP) as part of a multifactorial fall prevention intervention would reduce fall frequency among a wider population.
Orthopedics - Lower Extremity
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