What Is a Falls Risk Screening?
A falls risk screening involves a professional looking at your personal health and living environment to see how likely it is that you may fall and how you can lower this risk.
A screening is often split up into two parts. The first part is the initial screening that looks at your health and home environment. This is conducted by checking your health and asking you various questions.
The second part involves finding out how at risk you are of falling and agreeing to a plan to reduce this risk. You may be given an exercise routine to improve your strength and balance or a home assessment may be needed to make your home a safer place to live.
What Is the Purpose of a Screening?
The purpose of a falls risk screening is to reduce your risk of falling and prevent fall-related injury. It will help pinpoint if your health is related to a fall or putting you at risk of falling. Also, it will identify if you are living in an unsafe environment or if you may require some extra external help such as a carer.
A Screening Should Tell You:
- How at risk you are of falling
- What factors are putting you at risk of falling
- How you can reduce your risk of falling
What Happens During a Falls Risk Screening?
Questions Related to Falling
A falls risk screening will start with you being asked questions related to falling, such as:
- How often you have fallen in the past year
- What do you think causes your falls
- How worried you are about falling
Risk Factor Questions
You will then be asked questions related to your health and potential risk factors, such as:
- The state of your vision and hearing
- What your daily routine is like
- Medications you are taking
- What your home environment is like
- Your diet
- What your weekly exercise consists of
- Your foot health
- If you suffer from fall anxiety
- If you often have to rush around due to needing the toilet often
Health Problem Questions
You’ll also be asked about more serious health problem symptoms you might be experiencing, such as:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations
- Blackouts or memory loss around falling
- Confusion after falls
- Injuries from previous falls
Fall screens can help diagnose Osteoporosis which is a health condition the weakens the bones. Osteoporosis can go undiagnosed for years so talking about bone health and previous bone injuries during a screening is important.
Your strength and balance will also be checked during your screening, a medical professional will ask you to do various activities which will give them a clear picture of your abilities.
What Happens After a Screening?
You will be presented with a plan on how to reduce your risk of falling based on your results. You will learn if you are at high, medium or low risk of falling and what areas you need to focus on.
Depending on Your Results Your Plan May Include:
- Strength and balance improving exercises
- Removing trip hazards from your home
- Change in medication to reduce negative side effects
- Physiotherapy or occupational therapy
- Vision and hearing health check
- Walking aid assessment
- Health condition assessment or scan
- Home adaptations
- Care assessment
- Advice on how to get help if you fall
- Advice on how to fall and get up safely
Your plan will be personal to you and your needs. By following your plan, you will improve your safety and quality of life. Taking care of your health and environment means you can carry on doing the things you enjoy risk-free.