According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 3 million people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year and over 800,000 patients are admitted to the hospital with an injury secondary to the fall (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 5, 2016.)
Stroke survivors are three times more likely to fall at home after having a stroke than the general population. Therefore it is very important for stroke survivors to understand why they are at a higher risk for falling and how to prevent a fall.
Why do stroke survivors have a higher chance of falling?
After having a stroke many people exhibit one or more of these symptoms which can lead to impaired balance and falls:
• Increased dizziness
• Impaired or loss of vision
• Increased weakness on affected side
• Foot drop
• Impaired cognition
What can a stroke survivor do to prevent a fall at home?
1. Increased dizziness can be caused by multiple factors. Dizziness can be caused by dehydration, side effects from medication and low blood pressure. Therefore it very important to always stay hydrated, monitor your blood pressure and always speak to your doctor about possible side effects when starting a new medication.
2. After surviving a stroke many people will notice a change with their vision. It is very important to get examined by an optometrist after surviving a stroke. The doctor may need to adjust your glasses or they may also recommend that you speak to an occupational therapist to work on exercises to address your vision issues. It is important to make sure to always keep your house well lit and free of obstacles.
3. After experiencing a stroke many people exhibit weakness on one side of their body which can cause impaired balance. It is very important to continue to work with a therapist to increase your range of motion and strength on the affected side. It is also very important to always utilize your assistive device (ie: walker or cane etc.) if needed.
4. Many stroke survivors tend to have drop foot after a stroke. Drop foot means that you have a hard time lifting the front part of your foot. If your doctor or therapist have given you a brace to wear it is very important that you do so. It is important to keep doing your rehab exercises in order to strength all the muscles in your foot and hopefully get rid of your drop foot!
5. Many stroke survivors present with impaired cognition after a stroke. Many people have memory issues causing one to forget to use their assistive device at all times. It is important that someone with impaired cognition has supervision at home to prevent falls. It is also important to set up the home to provide a successful environment ie clear and light pathways.
If you have had a stroke and are looking for an effective solution for your rehabilitation needs, please look into Neofect's line of Smart Rehabilitation Solutions.
To learn more, please call (888) 623-8984 or email email@example.com.
- Becky Alter, OTR/LBecky is an occupational therapist and healthcare content writer based out of Denver, CO.