Balance/Falls

Newton-Wellesley Hospital's physical therapists specialize in the evaluation and treatment of adults with movement problems related to dizziness, falls or difficulty with balance or walking. We provide a comprehensive assessment of fall risk for older persons, and instruction in ways to reduce fall risk and optimize safety and function.

Physical therapists who work with older adults apply their knowledge of the anatomical and physiological changes that occur with normal aging to evaluate each person’s underlying problems. An individually designed rehabilitation program is then developed to promote remediation of impairments, activity and functional limitations; prevention of falls; overall fitness; and health and wellness.

A variety of health conditions can lead to problems with balance and falls. Examples of some common conditions that may affect older people and can be improved with physical therapy include:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cerebral Vascular Accident (Stroke)
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Amputations
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Diseases
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Coordination and Balance Disorders
  • Joint Replacements
  • Hip Fractures

The focus of rehabilitation is on optimizing mobility, balance and function, and typically includes patient instruction in home exercises to optimize long term carryover of gains made during physical therapy. We address home safety through the use of safety checklists, and we recommend possible adaptations to improve home safety.

Therapists incorporate the latest evidence regarding exercise and fall prevention strategies into the plan of care to maximize outcomes for each person. Our state-of-the-art facility includes access to recent technological advances such as body weight-supported treadmill training (LiteGait), and functional electrical stimulation during walking (WalkAide). We also participate in clinical research studies focused on measuring balance, and determining the benefits of new rehabilitation approaches to reduce falls.

Helpful Links
Aging and Dizziness
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Falls - Older Adults
Fall Safety Checklist
How Does the Balance System Work?
What You Can Do To Prevent Falls

Make an Appointment
To schedule an initial appointment for your outpatient rehabilitation therapy needs, please contact the Rehabilitation Services Department at 617-243-6172.

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