Senior Falls Prevention: The Otago Program

Fall prevention - senior exercise example

Senior Falls Prevention: The Otago Program

 Beyond the Clinic is pleased to announce that we have partnered with the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division to assist with a CDC funded fall prevention program, known as the “Otago Exercise Program“.  Only three states in the nation (Oregon, Colorado, and New York) are participating in this exciting program. This is a research-based public health campaign, developed in New Zealand, that utilizes the expertise of physical therapists to assist older adults to prevent falls.   Multiple physicians in the Portland metro area are using a screening battery to determine who is an appropriate  candidate for enrollment.

  • Fall prevention - senior exercise exampleEligible adults are 80+ years old OR are 65+ and at  high risk for falls.
  • They must be living independently at home, in the Portland area.
  • Medicare and supplemental insurance programs cover the cost (aside from co-pay/co-insurance), based on eligibility.

 Once enrolled in the program, an individual’s baseline level of ability is determined by a physical therapist. Common tests include:

  • Timed Up and Go – measuring how fast one can stand up, walk 10 feet, turn around and return to a seat.
  • 30-second Chair Stand – examines leg strength and power, by counting how many sit-to-stand repetitions someone can do in 30-seconds.
  • 4-Stage Balance – looks at how long someone can balance in a variety of different foot placement combinations.

 After the initial assessment, the physical therapist instructs a home exercise program that addresses posture, flexibility, leg strength, and balance skills.  Exercises are performed either while sitting or standing, and often include the use of ankle weights. Once an individual is independent with the program, the physical therapist follows him or her for 12 months, periodically updating the exercises and tracking improvements in the functional tests. All visits take place in the individual’s home, rather than a clinic or gym.

 The goal is to have 5000 seniors partake in the program over the next 5 years.

 If you are interested in enrolling in the Otago program or know someone who may benefit, please contact Beyond the Clinic at: 503-496-0385.  We will be happy to discuss the program with you and your physician.