Reaching Senior Patients
At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we’re committed to helping our members improve patient outcomes and increase the success of their parishes. Fall Prevention Awareness Day occurs during September, and it’s a good time to think about how you are serving the elderly part of the population in your community.
There’s a direct relationship between podiatric disorders and fall risk. If your patients’ feet hurt, they are more likely to lose their balance as they try to walk in a way that minimizes pain and discomfort. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for adults age 65 and older. As a physician, you can help patients reduce fall risk. You are also in a unique position to have a conversation about falling that the patient’s family or caregivers may be reluctant to begin. A few starting points include:
• Making sure patients understand the treatment plan for a toe, foot, or ankle disorder and stressing the importance of following the treatment plan to reduce the chances of falling.
• Note shoes that seem to be too tight or need replacing. Let patients know that improper footwear can lead to a fall.
• If you are prescribing medication for a podiatric problem, be sure the patient has given you a complete list of other drugs they are taking to avoid interaction side effects which may include dizziness or lightheadedness.
• Ask about how patients are managing medical conditions that impact podiatric health such as diabetes, arthritis and neuropathy. Make the connection between managing these conditions and the positive way that can affect podiatric health and reduce the risk of falling.
• Encourage healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise, nutritious diet, and not smoking. Avenues of Communication Providing for elderly patients in your practice and reaching prospective older patients may require specific strategies. Consider:
• Having written handouts available on podiatric conditions that patients can take home and re-read.
• Invite senior patients to bring a family member or friend to their appointments to be a second set of ears in obtaining correct diagnosis and treatment information.
• Consider offering to host an informational talk at the local senior center on diabetic foot care or other issue that seniors commonly experience.
At IPED, we offer blogs, seminars, videos, and other accessible ways of obtaining the information you need for your practice. To learn more about the benefits of membership, contact us by calling: 978-296-7634.
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