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Falls are not a normal part of aging

Falls are one of the most prevalent issues that adults face. Studies show that each year, one-third of patients age 65 and older fall, threatening their health and safety.

It is important to know that falls are not a normal part of aging. There are many proven ways that can decrease the number of falls and help older adults live better and longer.

Summa Health System’s Center for Senior Health offers falls risk reduction services at Summa Akron City Hospital and Summa Health Center at Wadsworth-Rittman. These services help keep patients healthy, out of the emergency room and as independent as possible.

Patients can see a nurse practitioner whose assessment includes:

• Discussion of previous falls and possible causes, including dizziness or vertigo

• Complete medical history

• Physical exam

• Test of your balance, strength, range of motion and the way you walk

• Vision examination

• Evaluation of reasoning, memory, decision-making and other skills

• Overview of medication use

• Conversation about the home environment

Patients are referred from Summa emergency rooms and various outside physicians and referral services.

Scott Spillan, MSN, an adult nurse practitioner, assesses falls patients in the Center for Senior Health.Recommendations can include simple things such as a change in footwear or investment in a walker, to more complex modifications, such as medication changes, vitamin D supplements and physical therapy for strength, gait and balance training.

“Our goal is to keep patients healthy and in their homes for as long as possible,” Spillan stresses.

Summa offers a home safety assessment to identify hazards, such as slippery area rugs, poor lighting and loose carpeting on stairways.

Nurse practitioners share all recommendations with the patient’s primary care physician so a comprehensive plan can be developed to help eliminate fall risk factors.

To schedule an appointment with the Center for Senior Health, either at Summa Akron City Hospital or Summa Health Center at Wadsworth-Rittman, call (330) 375-4100. For more information, visit summahealth.org/falls.