Falls are a major concern for older adults! Physical therapists play a key role in fall prevention, as well as treating falls and fall-related injuries. With evidence based practice, the functional mobility and quality of life of older adults may be improved, while decreasing the national fall-related statistics. This monograph will include the foundation of balance and falls, discuss age-related changes, provide an overview of screening tools and outcome measures, as well as interventions to address the impairments and functional limitations identified. The main objective of this monograph is for clinicians to be able to select appropriate screening tools, complete multi-factorial assessment, and prescribe interventions that set patients up for success.

Meet our Author

Mariana Wingood, PT, DPT, GCS, graduated from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2012 and is now a PhD student at the University of Vermont. She has practiced in various settings, including orthopedic outpatient, neuromuscular outpatient, a falls clinic, skilled nursing, and inpatient rehabilitation. She is an active member of the Vermont Falls Coalition, the Gerontology Society of America, and the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. Dr. Wingood’s focus is on physical activity promotion, fall prevention, and exercise prescription for older adults. Her goal is to improve clinical practice by developing, disseminating, and implementing clinically feasible tools. She has taught at the University of Vermont, presented at numerous state and national conferences, and taught online courses. She has published two monographs for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy and a book chapter on physical activity adherence. During her free time, Mariana enjoys traveling, running marathons, competing in triathlons, hiking, and skiing.

Editor: Barbara Billek-Sawhney, PT, EdD, DPT, GCS

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Completion Instructions

Please read the monograph (pdf) and complete the assessment with at least a 70% score. Complete the course evaluation and download and save your certificate.

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Mariana Wingood, PT, DPT, GCS

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this monograph, the course participant will be able to:\n

  1. Describe the epidemiology of falls and identify the economic impact of falls and fall related injuries.
  2. Synthesize knowledge to develop fall risk screening tools for older adults.
  3. Analyze psychometric properties of screening and assessment tools to identify fall risk and enhance the development of patient specific interventions.
  4. Synthesize knowledge to develop a comprehensive fall risk assessment strategy for older adults at risk of falling.
  5. Identify older adults at increased risk for falling.
  6. Integrate findings to develop a comprehensive assessment and plan of care to address fall risk, balance dysfunction, and gait dysfunction.
  7. Design appropriate interventions to improve balance, reduce the risk of falling in older adults, and address gait dysfunction.
  8. Plan and develop a comprehensive discharge plan, including addressing the continuum of care, home exercise programs, and progression to evidence based community exercise program for minimizing fall risk, and improving balance/gait dysfunction
  9. Effectively communicate and justify tests/measures and interventions for balance and gait dysfunction.


Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy

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Type:E-Learning Course
Credit Categories
Learning Time:2h  
Domains:Falls, Geriatrics Focus 2018, Mariana Wingood, Balance and Falls