Clinic Services

The Falls Prevention Clinic is a referral-based clinic that specializes in the prevention of falls and fractures among seniors. The clinic’s mission is to identify the underlying causes of seniors’ falls, and to address these risk factors in collaboration with family physicians.

Once a patient is referred to the clinic, he or she will be contacted by our team to schedule their first appointment. This appointment consists of 2 parts: 1) Falls Risk Assessment, and 2) Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment. One of our geriatricians will conclude the appointment with individualized recommendations for falls prevention.


Fall risk assessment

At the Falls Prevention Clinic, we use a tool called the Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA) to assess your risk of falling. As we age, our vision, our leg strength, peripheral sensation, and vestibular function may decrease leading to an overall decline in balance and strength. In turn, this can increase our risk of falls and fall-related injuries.

The PPA predicts future falls with 75% accuracy. Research has shown that a dedicated Falls Risk Assessment can reduce future falls by 60%. From our six years of experience at the Falls Prevention Clinic, we have reduced future falls by 50% among senior fallers who meet our eligibility criteria.

The PPA was developed to assess falls risk by measuring 5 key physiological domains that predict falls in older adults.

  • balance
  • hand reaction time
  • quadriceps strength
  • proprioception (the sense of relative position of different body parts)
  • edge contrast sensitivity (depth perception)

From your performance on each of these five physiological domains, an overall falls risk score is computed for each individual with 75% predictive accuracy for falls in older people. A PPA z-score of 0-1 indicates mild risk, 1-2 indicates moderate risk, 2-3 indicates high risk, and 3 and above indicates marked risk.

Comprehensive geriatric assessment

The comprehensive geriatric exam will include the following services:

  • In depth medical review: A Geriatrician will review current medications and medical history (e.g. neurological, cardiovascular, visual, etc) to detect possible contributors or risk factors for falling
  • Functional review: This involves an in-depth examination of one’s day-to-day lifestyle to determine contributing factors, including examining ability to perform activities of daily living and home environment.
  • Falls Risk Assessment review: A Geriatrician will review the results from the physical and cognitive assessments. This information will be summarized for the patients and appropriate recommendations will be made.
  • What can be optimized/adopted – The Geriatrician will conclude what remediable factors can be addressed. This will also include assessing the environment and how to improve physical function through targeted exercises. Tests or investigations may be ordered if the geriatrician feels further information is needed.
  • Referrals: Vancouver Coastal Health provides support from occupational therapists and other health professionals (e.g. home safety assessments, physiotherapy, caregiver support) based on the individual’s fall risk profile.

Evidence-based recommendations

Looking for safe and gentle exercises to reduce the risk of falls and osteoporotic fracture? Lean more about OSTEOFIT exercise, education and falls prevention program.  OSTEOFIT classes are offered at many community centers throughout BC. Find the one closest to you.

Research shows that there are many risk factors linked to falls. Most of these risks can be reduced through awareness and simple changes. Find out if you are are at risk for falling and fall prevention tips here: The First Step: Fall Prevention Starts With You.

You can take steps to stay healthy, independent and on your feet. Sometimes a fall is unavoidable so it is important to have a plan so that you can minimize your injuries and get help as quickly as possible. Download the Stay on Your Feet Booklet.

VCH_What-To-Do-If-You-Fall

See Tips to prevent falls for more information.

"It was shown in my falls risks report that physiotherapy had huge impact on my balance. I've not only got back to normal, I'm actually doing better. I know it is linked to my experience with the physiotherapy and the Falls Prevention Clinic. I obviously have made progress."

Frances Raderecht
Action Seniors Study

" I'm more aware of the need for physical exercise and I am taking the stairs all the time now. I don’t think I would have attempted to do what I'm doing now if it weren't for the Falls Clinic."

Beverley Baxter
Action Seniors Study