Physiotherapy prevents falls.

  • Physiotherapy improves balance and strength.
  • Physiotherapy reduces hospitalizations.
  • Physiotherapy falls prevention programs are cost-effective.
  • Physiotherapy falls prevention programs improve quality of life.

Physiotherapy is highly effective in preventing and reducing the risk of falls.

It is estimated that falls and fall-related injuries cost the Canadian health care system approximately $2.8 billion a year, with $980 million alone spent on treating injuries related to falls.1 Falls are a leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors.2 Physiotherapy effectively improves strength, motor function, and balance in older adults at risk of falling and those with fall-related injuries.3 Patient acceptance of falls prevention programming is high,3 and physiotherapy interventions to prevent falls improves patient confidence and reduces the fear of falling that restricts physical activity.1 The reduction in health care costs associated with implementing a falls prevention program more than offsets the cost of the prevention programmes for specific patient populations.4,5

  • In Canada, the average cost per fall requiring hospitalization is approximately $30,000.
  • The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a falls-prevention program for high-risk adults is estimated to be $5,310 per fall averted.
  • The cost of treating a fall is 1.85 times higher than implementing a falls prevention program.
  • Physiotherapist screening for risk of falls, and patient education, results in 2.2 fewer falls per 100 patients and reduces cost spent on resources to prevent and treat fall-related injuries by $2,804 per 100 inpatient falls prevented.
  • Physiotherapy programs, including balance and strength retraining, reduce mortality, hospitalization rates, and transfers to nursing homes resulting in better patient outcomes.
  • Multidisciplinary falls-prevention programs decrease the incidence of falls, fall-related morbidity, and costs to the health care system.
  • Balance training by a physiotherapist improves quality of life, physical function, strength, balance, social interaction, and overall wellbeing.

Read more about the role of physiotherapy in falls prevention and fall-related injuries here.

 

[1] Healthy Aging and Wellness Working Group of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee of Officials (Seniors). (n.d.). Healthy Aging in Canada: A New Vision, A Vital Investment [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/alt-formats/pdf/publications/public/healthy-sante/vision/vision-eng.pdf

[2] Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Seniors’ Falls Prevention in Canada: Second Report. Protecting Canadians from Illness [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/publications/public/injury-blessure/seniors_falls-chutes_aines/assets/pdf/seniors_falls-chutes_aines-eng.pdf

[3] Canadian Physiotherapy Association. (2012). The Value of Physiotherapy | Joint Arthoplasty [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://physiotherapy.ca/sites/default/files/valuePT/cpa_valuept_jointarthroplasty-en.pdf

[4] Galbraith, J.G., Butler, J.S., Memon, A.R., Dolan, M.A., & Harty, J.A. (2011, December). Cost analysis of a falls-prevention program in an orthopaedic setting. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, 469(12), 3462-8. doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-1932-9

[5] Irvine, L., Conroy, S.P., Sach, T., Gladman, J.R.F., Harwood, R.W., Kendrick, D., Coupland, C., Drummond, A., Barton, G., & Masud, T. (2010, November). Cost-effectiveness of a day hospital falls prevention programme for screened community-dwelling older people at high risk of falls. Age and Ageing, 39(6), 710-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afq108