Do Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists Teach Elderly People How to Rise after a Fall?

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Falling is a major problem for the elderly population and much research has been done to investigate the risk factors for and means of preventing falls. However, very little research has been carried out looking at if and how therapists teach elderly people how to rise after a fall. This postal survey was undertaken to investigate whether therapists do anything to try to prevent falls, assess elderly people for suitability and teach them how to rise after a fall.

The results showed that almost all the respondents (127 of 137) identified falling as a problem that they had to deal with in their patients over 65 years. The main focus of occupational therapists was to prevent falls by making environmental changes (for example, removing hazards) whereas physiotherapists were involved in physical changes (for example, balance training). Over half the respondents had considered teaching people how to rise after a fall. A range of different methods was used, which broadly fell into physical and verbal instructions or referral to other health care professionals. The sources of knowledge for teaching how to rise after a fall came mainly from previous clinical experience. Falls are an acknowledged problem in the elderly population and among these hospital and community based therapists about half had considered teaching or had taught elderly people how to rise after a fall.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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