While the time health care providers spend with patients is limited, it is important to ensure a falls prevention discussion is incorporated into the doctor’s office visit of patients who are 65 and older. A simple discussion with a potentially at-risk patient could save a life. These three questions may be included in the routine part of an exam.
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Do you worry about falling?
If a patient answers "yes" to any of these key screening questions, they are considered at increased risk of falling. Further assessment is recommended.
CDC developed the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) initiative to assist health care providers in their efforts to reduce patients’ chances of falling. STEADI is the first step during the visit. STEADI Phase One includes three steps that healthcare providers can complete in one visit:
- ASK patients if they’ve fallen in the past year, feel unsteady, or worry about falling.
- REVIEW medications and stop, switch, or reduce the dosage of drugs that increase fall risk.
- RECOMMEND vitamin D supplements of at least 800 IU/day with calcium.