Reduce the Risk of Falls and Recover Balance

March 6, 2015

Reduce the Risk of Falls and Recover Balance
Biodex Balance System Now Available at the Hillandale Family of Communities

For years, skilled nursing facilities have filled the gap between hospital and home for patients needing help after surgery, heart attacks, strokes and other disorders. But often, these same facilities had little to help patients prevent a common threat to their recovery: falls.

Now, the Hillandale Family of Communities (ChesterwoodVillage,DoverwoodVillage& BirchwoodCareCenter) offers the latest in rehab technology for patients who have an increased risk of potentially fatal falls: The Biodex Balance System.

What is the BioDex System?

The Biodex Balance System helps Hillandale therapists test patients’ ability to resist balance challenges that could bring on a fall, and compares test results to “normal” peers. When a fall risk is detected, therapists can use the Biodex software programs to help patients develop the muscle strength and neurological response necessary for them to walk more safely.

”When Hillandale patients return home, we want them to be confident of their ability to walk, climb steps and return to their daily activities,” Shuyuan, Director of Therapy Services explains. “Our new Biodex Balance System is a major tool in giving them that confidence.”

Am I really at risk for a fall?

Falls are a serious threat for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

Fall risk is elevated for seniors who have been hospitalized for almost any reason, but especially following stroke and surgery to replace hips and knees. Research studies have found that:

  • Between 25-50% of all stroke patients have at least one fall within six months of hospitalization.
  • Although total hip replacement effectively restores hip function, problems with balance control persist up to four months post-op.
  • Most patients undergoing total knee replacement have a history of falling, and 45% of those with a history of falling will fall again after surgery.
  • Instability or the tendency to sway when standing is a fall risk characteristic of Parkinson’s disease that can be reduced with balance and strength training.

How does the Biodex System help?

It all starts with a two-minute fall risk test that compares patient balance to a database of age-matched “normals.” The Biodex Balance System allows Hillandale therapists to quickly test a patient’s stability on firm and unstable surfaces, to identify underlying visual and musculoskeletal deficiencies.

A limits of stability test then evaluates a patient’s ability to lean forward as if reaching for an object on a shelf, and lean backward as if rinsing hair in the shower.

Next, the Biodex Balance System combines sensors under a platform to detect patient weight distribution and response to computer challenges. Patient efforts are displayed on screen and saved.

Results are printed out and submitted to the patient’s physician, along with a recommended course of corrective physical therapy. Beyond testing, therapeutic protocols prepare patients to resist falls.

Once a patient’s balance issues are identified, and the patient’s physician approves a recommended rehabilitation program, and therapy can begin using the Balance System’s six rehab modes. These modes include weight-shifting and percentage of weight bearing protocols. Proper weight shifting and weight bearing are essential to reducing the risk of falls.

Finally, each week, Hillandale therapists print a report of the patient’s progress and send it to their clinician.

How can I get more information?

If you think the Biodex Balance System may help you or a loved one, contact our team at the Hillandale Family of Communities for more information. We can also help you learn how to ask your physician for a referral. For more information click here or contact Jane Gegner at (513) 777-1400 ext. 3040 today.

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