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The Ethics of Fall Prevention
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Co-Sponsored by San Diego District, CPTA, San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force (coordinated by Aging & Independence Services of San Diego County, Health & Human Services Agency), & Dr. Kimberley Bell, DPT

When: Tuesday, October 25
From 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Tri-city Wellness Center
6250 El Camino Real
Carlsbad, CA  92009
United States
Presenter: Kimberley Bell, PT, DPT & Kristen Smith, MPH
Contact: San Diego District CPTA

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Course Objectives

  • Understand statistics related to falls in older adults as a public health problem.
  • Name three major components of geriatric fall prevention
  • Verbalize components of a multi-factorial fall risk assessment and evidence- based interventions to reduce fall risk and fall rate
  • Understand the relationship between complaints of dizziness and fall risk
  • Review cases, considering ethical questions about the relevance and necessity of fall prevention interventions for geriatric patients
  • Discuss obstacles and brainstorm solutions for implementing evidence-based best practices for fall prevention for geriatric patients in their respective clinical settings
  • Understand the recommended best practices for the care of older adults related to preventing falls and reducing the burden of fall-related injuries on our economy, as recommended by:
    • The American Geriatrics Society
    • The British Geriatrics Society
    • The American Academy of Neurology
    • The American Academy of Otolaryngology

Ethical Questions

  1. Considering the prevalence of falls related injuries, if you work with a geriatric population, what are your professional responsibilities from an ethical standpoint regarding educating yourself about the issue of falls and falls prevention? If you remain uninformed, is that right or wrong?
  2. Among geriatric clinicians, who is responsible, and under what circumstances, for educating older patients about fall prevention and developing a fall prevention treatment plan? If the PT is not responsible, who do you think should be responsible for helping a patient prevent the next fall?
  3. If you complete a falls risk screen as required by Medicare for PQRS or OASIS-C documentation requirements and then do not include interventions in your treatment plan to directly address reducing fall risk, is that right or wrong?
  4. If you treat a patient who was referred to PT for an injury that was sustained during a fall, such as a TBI, shoulder fracture, wrist fracture, hip fracture (and the list goes on) and you do not assess or treat fall risk or balance as part of your PT assessment, instead concentrating on the rehabilitation of the original reason for the referral, is that right or wrong?
  5. The #1 complaint to physicians from people over 70 years old is dizziness, which has a vestibular component about 45-50% of the time, so considering these facts, is it right or wrong for clinicians who work primarily in geriatrics to have little to no understanding of assessment and treatment of the vestibular system?


Dr. Kimberley Bell, PT, DPT & Kristen Smith, MPH


Approved for 0.2 CEUs/2 Contact Hours


Introductions & Ethical Questions (6:30-6:50pm)

Fall Statistics in CA (6:50-7:15pm)

Fall Prevention Overview (7:15-8:00pm)

Best Practice Recommendations (8:00-8:15pm)

Discussion (8:15-8:30pm)

Registration Fees

APTA Members $0; Prospective Members $20



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