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Prevention measures needed to address major risk of falls after stroke
Date:10/2/2011

OTTAWA, Oct. 3, 2011 Almost 60 per cent of people who have a stroke experience one or more falls afterwards most often in their own homes and some are left with serious injuries, according to a study released today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Better identification of people at risk of falling and proactive measures, such as assessments to create fall-proof homes, are required to keep people safe and injury-free, says Prof. Julie Tilson of the University of Southern California.

Ironically, the greatest risk comes when people are resuming their daily routines and regaining self-confidence, according to the study, which involved 408 people from two-to-12 months post-stroke. "As patients start to recover and gain mobility, the risk for falls may actually increase," Prof. Tilson says. "As they become more active, they are more likely to fall."

Over 70 per cent of falls were in the home and three-quarters of those who fell were unable to get up afterward. Of those who fell, 10 per cent experienced serious injury from loss of consciousness to broken bones. The U.S. researcher said it is crucial that people receive post-stroke rehabilitation to test their balance and to learn exercises and techniques to prevent falls.

The study was part of the Locomotor Experience Applied Post Stroke (LEAPS) study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which investigated the impact of different physical therapy treatments for improving people's ability to walk after a stroke.

According to the Canadian Stroke Network's 2011 report on the Quality of Stroke Care in Canada, 90 per cent of individuals with mild stroke are discharged directly home from acute care. Only 37 per cent of all moderate to severe stroke cases are discharged to a rehabilitation facility. The report indicates there are huge gaps in the delivery of rehabilitation services in all parts of Canada and services are not well docum
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Contact: Cathy Campbell
cathy@canadianstrokenetwork.ca
613-852-2303
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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