Close-up of person in slippers tripping on a rug

Identified Trend: Falls

For the past two years, falls have been a reoccurring MUI concern. Get tips on preventing falls for those with disabilities.

We saw 21 MUIs involving an individual falling in the first half of 2022. (Six are currently open or pending). The most common cause of falls in 2022 has been a loss of balance. Loss of balance causes vary, but some of the top reasons include weather conditions; poor choices; prior medical issues, and indoor environmental concerns, to name a few. Fractures were involved in 14 of the 21 incidents (67% of the cases). When we compare this data to cases in the first half of 2021, we found 21 MUIs involving falls with similar causes.

While some of these falls are certainly purely accidental, a person’s disabilities and medical condition were contributors in many of these falls. Physical Therapy (PT) or Occupational Therapy (OT) services may be beneficial for someone who has declining motor skills due to disabilities or age. These individuals could benefit from specific therapies to improve the ability to balance or avoid falls.

Physical Therapy focuses on improving a patient’s ability to move their body. PTs focus on restoring the ability to move, reducing pain, and improving gross motor skills while promoting function and independence, and preventing disability. Gross motor skill development involves the large muscles in the arms, legs and torso.

In contrast, Occupational Therapy focuses on improving a patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living. OTs focus on adapting, modifying or changing daily activities that a person is required or wants to do. OTs might do this by altering the activity, the environment, or the skills of the person. If focusing on skills, an OT might help a patient improve their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are typically small movements made with your upper body.

Medicaid will cover 30 OT and PT sessions every 12 months ,for those eligible, according to Ohio’s Medicaid website. If you’re interested in seeking PT or OT supports for someone you serve, please contact the person’s Primary Care Physician to discuss options. If you have difficulty in locating a service provider in Summit County, the person’s SSA may have some suggestions for the team. WebMD also offers more insight into what the two types of therapies could provide someone with disabilities.

DODD also issued a Fall Prevention Alert that contains some practical information and suggestions on how to prevent falls with the population we serve.

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