"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Friday, September 14, 2012

Exercise Prevents Falls in Older Adults but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Does Not

Older adults falling down at home and elsewhere is a growing problem in the United States. About 30% of older people fall in a year.

An update of a 2009 Cochrane Review of the effectiveness of a falls reduction programs found that exercise and home safety interventions prevent falls in older adults.

The investigators assessed 159 randomized trials of fall prevention interventions with nearly 80,000 participants aged 60 and older.

Among the other interventions that helped reduce the rate of falls or risk for falls:

  • Multifactorial interventions, including individualized risk assessment 
  • Tai chi 
  • Pacemakers, in patients with carotid sinus hypersensitivity 
  • First eye cataract surgery in women 
  • Gradual withdrawal of psychotropic drugs 
  • Changes in prescribing behavior by primary care physicians 
  • An anti-slip shoe device in icy conditions 

Some of the interventions that did not have an effect include:

  • Vitamin D supplementation in people with normal vitamin D levels 
  • Patient education alone 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
(reprinted from JournalWatch, Massachusetts Medical Society)

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Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
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