My Grandfather fell right before his wife passed away. He was a deconditioned caregiver who did not have any free time to exercise.
He fell again right after his wife passed due to his shock and disorientation. He was bruised and wounded from the two falls, but not badly enough to go to Urgent Care or the emergency room.
For that reason, I have been making efforts to advocate for him on a daily basis. I have been in contact with his doctor on the other side of the country because due to a fear of falling again he had begun to reduce his daily activities.
All of his fall-related injuries had healed but the fear of falling remained.
He never told his doctor about the falls but he told me.
I am aware that Fear of Falling and a history of Falls increases the risk of future falls and requires an intervention.
Understanding medical benefits for physical therapy, I advocated for my grandfather to receive in-home healthcare. He is getting physical therapy services in his home covered by Medicare Part A.
He progressed from using a walker to a cane – and his strength, balance and mobility improved so much that he wants to move out of the assisted living building and into an independent living condo in a retirement community!
I know that a lot of people wait until they fall and are more seriously injured before they tell a doctor or seek physical therapy services for rehabilitation. However, it is important to tell a doctor if you have fallen – especially if you were injured – and to seek out preventative services like vestibular rehabilitation when you are dizzy, before a fall.
This pro-active approach of advocacy to prevent hospitalization can also prevent avoidable pain and a decline in independence.
As a devoted Patient Advocate for my grandfather, the most important thing I did was listen deeply to what he was saying and respond skillfully with compassion.
My goal was to prevent hospitalization.
Thankfully I was able to help him get the services he needed and he never ended up in the hospital.
Going through this experience with my family has really opened my eyes to the need for advocacy services for older adults and their families. My ability to educate, advocate and coach him through this life change has been a wonderful blessing that I had no idea would be so needed.
I am so grateful I am able to be there for my grandfather to prevent hospitalization from a serious fall-related injury and to ensure he gets the help he needs to live a full and happy life!
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.