Multifactorial Falls Risk Assessment: A Cost-Effective New Approach to Fall Prevention?
According to statistics, more than 250,000 falls and 1,000 fractures are reported in hospitals in England and Wales each year. With the NHS facing record pressures, the healthcare sector needs to establish a new approach to managing fall prevention in the UK.
Multifactorial falls risk assessment is a new approach to managing fall prevention in older people. This assessment aims to identify a person’s risk factors for falling.
Doing so enables practitioners to refer individual people for effective interventions targeted at their specific risk factors, with the aim of reducing subsequent falls.
This article will explain the different factors analysed in a multifactorial risk assessment and how the approach can be used to identify and eliminate issues associated with fall prevention.
What Is a Multifactorial Falls Risk Assessment?
There are over 400 risk factors related to falling and the risk of an individual appears to increase with the number of factors. A multifactorial risk assessment allows interventions to target a person’s specific risk factors to prevent future falls.
Although different healthcare professionals may undertake various components of the assessment, each element has to be combined to form a single multifactorial assessment. These elements include:
Identifying Fall History
Identifying an individual's fall history should consist of determining the number of falls in the past year and their circumstances. This may include any premonitory symptoms, the location of the falls, what activity they were doing and any injuries sustained in the fall.
The more you know about an individual’s fall history, the better the prevention strategy. For example, if someone has fallen more than once in a particular environment, you can then offer advice to help them familiarise themselves to prevent a fall from happening again in the future.
Assessment of Balance, Mobility, Strength and Muscle Weakness
Fall issues are most common among elderly people. These members of society are most likely to struggle with balance, mobility, strength and muscle weaknesses.
Taking the time to learn about an individual’s weakness is crucial. You can support people by creating resistance and balance training plans, which are some of the most effective ways to prevent and reverse issues such as muscle weakness.
Assessment of Visual Impairment
More than two million people are estimated to be living with sight loss in the UK. Sight loss can be severe enough to significantly impact their daily lives and can contribute to people suffering from falls.
Although not all vision problems can be cured, some can be treated with surgery. By assessing an individual’s visual impairment, you can help them take action to treat their sight issues and avoid a fall happening.
Assessment of Home Hazards
A home hazard assessment should be undertaken in the person's home and should be more than a 'checklist' of threats. The assessment must explore how the use of the environment affects the person's risk of falling.
During a home hazard assessment, some dangers to look out for include unrepaired cracks in a driveway, loose rugs, poor lighting and unsecured wires.
Once the assessment has been conducted, advice can then be offered to the individual to remove specific hazards from their home and prevent other dangers from arising in the future.
Certain types of medication can also increase the risk of falling, including psychotropic medications. As part of a multifactorial falls risk assessment, a medication review should be carried out and if appropriate, the medication should be discontinued to reduce the person's risk of falling.
The most common types of medication that cause falls in older people include medications that affect the brain, medications that affect blood pressure and medications that lower blood sugar.
These are just a few elements that should be covered in a multifactorial falls risk assessment. You can discover the most effective ways to approach one and be sure you cover everything you need to by attending our upcoming training course.
Understand the Importance of Fall Prevention and How to Tackle the Problem
Multifactorial falls risk assessments are critical for managing the prevention of falls in the future. But how do you get started with one? And how can you be sure the actions you take are effective?
By joining us at our upcoming training course, you’ll be able to create a successful fall prevention strategy that aligns with the elements covered in a multifactorial risk assessment. You can book your place on the course below.