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Physical Exercise Duration and Regimen Linked to Effective Fall Prevention

Many elderly individuals have a higher risk of falling, and usually sustain greater injuries from such falls due to their frail nature. Additionally, because those residing in long term care facilities are generally frailer than their peers living in the community, they are more prone to falling and are likely to suffer greater consequences as a result. While it is commonly known that elderly individuals residing in such facilities are considered to be poor candidates in performing physical exercise due to their functional, cognitive and physical conditions, a study has demonstrated that exercise programs within this population are still effective in reducing the number of falls in this environment.

Physical exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. However, this study has aimed to demonstrate how physical exercise would also help to reduce an elderly individual’s susceptibility to falls, despite their particularly frail nature. For example, exercise has been shown to promote an increase in strength, muscle flexibility, balance, and endurance. Additionally, exercise has also contributed to reducing physical disability, as well as decreasing functional limitations and restrictions by increasing an elderly individual’s mobility. Combined, these effects from physical exercise were generally shown to promote fall prevention within the elderly population, even in those shown to be frailer and residing in nursing homes.

Studies have delved further to demonstrate which exercise regimens were particularly effective in fall prevention. It has been found that if an exercise program was performed for a period of either one to three months, or if performed longer than six months, they were more effective in fall prevention compared to exercise programs implemented for three to six months. One explanation was that if an exercise regimen lasted between one to three months, participants underwent a more intense or rigorous regimen during that short period of time, thus reflecting rapid results. Additionally if the duration of an exercise regimen exceeded six months, elderly individuals were less susceptible to falls, which reflected the accumulated effects of the long exercise regimen. The study also found that exercise regimens applied for a period longer than six months, performed two or three times per week, had the highest effect against fall prevention. Additionally, the study stated that balance exercises must always be included in exercise regimens for greatest effectiveness.

An objective of those conducting the study was to provide data to health care providers, allowing them to use this information to develop more effective strategies when designing physical exercise regimens for individuals residing in long term care facilities. This study was conducted after many long term care facilities abandoned their exercise programs as a fall prevention method, citing that exercise was not effective due to the frailty of elderly individuals in long term care facilities. However, researchers hope this data will contribute to effective tailoring of exercise regimens, in duration and frequency, to help elderly individuals decrease their susceptibility to falls.

Falls are an unfortunately common problem within the elderly population, often resulting in fractures, pain, lengthy hospitalizations, and even death. If proper care is provided by nursing home facilities, falls can be prevented. However, many nursing homes are unable to provide enough qualified staff members to supervise and monitor their residents to prevent such falls. As a result, many sustain falls and suffer injuries as a result. In addition, some facilities may resort to the use of physical restraints on residents who have a high risk of falling. However, the use of such restraints is harmful to residents and is a violation of their Patient’s Rights. The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi specializes in handling nursing home neglect disputes. Our passionate attorneys possess great experience in handling cases concerning preventable falls and related injuries. If you believe your loved one has suffered a preventable fall or injury due to nursing home neglect, contact us at (888) 606-3453 for a free consultation today. We are located in both Northern and Southern California and serve cities throughout the state.