nurse holding the hand of a patient

Physical Therapy InjuriesPhysical Therapy Falls

Physical Therapy Fall Risk Protocols

Physical Therapists Often Set Unassisted Walking as a Goal for Patients. The goal implies a responsibility for the therapist to prevent falls during their care of the patient.

What Is A Fall Risk?Fall Risk is often the Justification for Physical Therapy

Physical therapy patients often are at an increased risk for falling. The process of being approved for physical therapy involves medical assessments by doctors. This is followed by a physical therapist’s assessment of a patient’s limitations. Physical Therapists construct a therapy plan for each patient to address their limitations. A physical Therapist will typically review submitted medical records, take a complete health history and assess the capabilities of a patient. Every physical therapist does or should determine whether a patient is at risk for falls. Physical therapy is often ordered for patients that are at a heightened risk for falls and precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of patient falls. Patients that have suffered strokes, heart attacks, knee surgeries, hip surgeries, ankle injuries, back injuries or other serious traumas often require physical therapy.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries as a result of a fall during physical therapy please contact the malpractice lawyers at Patterson Law for a free consultation.

How Is A Fall Risk Determined?How do I find out the Fall Risk?

Physical therapists conduct assessments of patients that should directly or indirectly identify a patient’s risk of falling. The assessment is often performed on a preprinted check list style form that often identifies weaknesses and goals. Common factors that increase the risk of falling include:

  • Prior Falls
  • Weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Dementia
  • Neurological Deficits
  • Dizziness
  • Overactive bladder
  • Confusion
  • Gait problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Balance problems

Physical therapists may take steps to mark a person as being a fall risk as well as instituting precautions because a patient is a high fall risk. This is particularly true for patients that receive physical therapy as part of inpatient rehabilitation care or at a nursing home. Typically residents will be fitted with a wrist band indicating that the resident is a high fall risk as well as a sign on their door indicating the fall risk level. Monitoring services are also a sign that a patient is a high fall risk. This may include an alarm that goes off if a resident pulls away for their wheel chair or bed. A hospital bed with guards to prevent residents from getting up on their own or falling off a bed is an indication that they are a fall risk. Physical therapy that is performed within a hospital, inpatient rehabilitation care center or a nursing home should expect that most of their patients are at a heightened risk for falls. Many of these patients are at the facilities because they lack the strength to safely navigate many activities of daily living.

If you or a loved one sustained a serious injury as a result of a fall that occurred during physical therapy please contact the physical therapy malpractice lawyers at Patterson Law for a free consultation.

The American Physical Therapy Association provides a fall risk assessment guide for physical therapists to utilize to minimize the risk of falls.

Physical Therapists Are Hired To Improve Strength And FunctionPhysical Therapists Must Prevent Anticipated Falls

Physical therapists are paid frequently to render patients safe to walk and do other tasks unassisted. In most medical malpractice cases the standard of care required for a patient is heavily debated. Physical Therapy often involves activities that may be difficult for a patient and the therapist should anticipate that fatigue may set in. The physical therapist may need to spot the patient during therapy and/or select therapies that minimize the risk of falls. Physical therapists will often bill more for attended physical therapy as opposed to unattended physical therapy. Physical therapies that pose a high risk for falls should be attended by the therapist.

Physical Therapy negligence lawyer, George Patterson frequently handles cases involving the violation of fall risk protocols by medical facilities. These violations have resulted in serious head injuries, fractures and even death. If you or a loved one sustained injuries as a result of a fall at a physical therapy facility please call lawyer George Patterson for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Mr. Patterson engaged critical subject matter experts that really helped uncover the all the facts and magnify the negligence in my case. He never gave up on me and the outcome of my case was better than expected. . . . [he] is the only attorney I would ever consider turning to.


A Personal Injury Client.

Many trauma patients may have multiple injuries that a physical therapist should know about even if those injuries are not the subject of the physical therapy. It is not uncommon for a car accident victim to require physical therapy for a leg injury while recovering from a head injury causing dizziness. Such patients are a high risk for falling.

George Patterson

Physical Therapy Malpractice Lawyer

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If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident or suffered a serious personal injury due to someone else’s negligence please contact the best personal injury lawyers at Patterson Law. George Patterson has been featured in an article published in the Best Lawyers in America. The “best” injury lawyers may be reached at their Annapolis or Bowie offices at 301-888-4878.

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