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Discharge from Hospital After a Fall: How Physiotherapy at Home Helps Recovery

It’s a relief to be out of hospital, isn’t it?

But if you’ve been discharged after a fall, you might be feeling a bit apprehensive about what comes next. That’s perfectly normal.

As a senior physiotherapist with years of experience under my belt, I’m here to guide you through your recovery journey, right in the comfort of your London home.

Before we dig into the specifics of what physiotherapy at home after a hospital stay looks like, let’s understand how your body changes during hospitalisation.

How Does Your Body Change After a Hospital Stay?

Hospital stays, even short ones, can take a toll on your body.

It can significantly affect various body systems that affect your overall function and recovery process. Understanding these changes is crucial in navigating the path to full recovery.

You might feel weaker, less balanced, or less confident in your movements. It’s not just the physical aftermath of a fall; it’s also about what happens when you’re not moving as much as you’re used to.

Here are some systems that are sensitive to bed rest:

1.   Musculoskeletal System

The most immediate and noticeable change often occurs within the musculoskeletal system. A 2019 study found that 10 days of bed rest decreased thigh muscle strength by 14.5% in young healthy women.

Your lower limbs experience the most decrease in muscle mass and strength due to bed rest. It can lead to decreased mobility and an increased risk of falls. Your joints may also become stiff, limiting your range of motion and impacting daily activities.

2.   Cardiovascular System

Prolonged inactivity during hospitalisation after a fall can make the heart less efficient at pumping blood. This can cause orthostatic hypotension, a condition where your blood pressure significantly drops when you stand up, leading to dizziness or fainting.

3.   Psychological System

Beyond the physical, you can’t ignore the psychological impact of a hospital stay. You may experience increased levels of anxiety and feelings of isolation, which can further complicate the recovery process. The psychological state can directly affect your physical recovery by influencing motivation, pain perception, and overall rehabilitation engagement.

My reason for sharing all that is to highlight the fact that you need a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to post hospital rehab at home, especially after falls.

Physiotherapy at home in London plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. It offers targeted interventions to strengthen muscles, improve balance, enhance cardiovascular function, and support a safe and effective return to daily activities.

How Physiotherapy at Home Helps After Discharge from Hospital After a Fall

The real work begins once you’re back home. That’s where physiotherapy post-discharge from the hospital comes in.

In addition to your physical recovery; it’s about rebuilding your strength, confidence, and independence.

Here’s an overview of how home physiotherapy helps post-hospital discharge after a fall

  1. Treating the psychological aspect
  2. Tailored exercises that are safe for different levels of rehab
  3. Preventing future falls through strengthening the body
  4. Improving balance and coordination
  5. Assessing your home to identify fall hotspots
  6. Teaching safe fall techniques
  7. Reducing the need for a full-time carer
  8. Safely integrating you back into routine activities.

Let’s look at each point in detail now:

1.   Overcoming the Psychological Impact of Falling

Falling can leave you feeling shaken. Losing your confidence afterwards is normal. It’s part of the post-fall syndrome. Our expert home physiotherapists in London help you overcome the fear through a range of evidence-based post-hospital rehab practices such as:

●     Building Confidence Through Gradual Progression:

We craft personalised rehabilitation programs that focus on gradual progression. Starting with a simple, low-risk home exercise program, we help you slowly rebuild your physical capabilities while simultaneously gaining confidence in your ability to perform tasks without falling. Our step-by-step approach helps demystify the fear associated with movement.

●     Education:

I’ve treated home physiotherapy patients in London for many years. And I’ve found that educating my patients about their condition and the nature of their injuries massively helps them. It tackles the unknowns that fuel their fear of falling and puts their mind (and body) at ease.

Learning about why you fell and what you can do now can help you create realistic expectations of your recovery process. This is just as important a part of the physiotherapy post discharge from hospital as your exercises and mobility drills.

●     Improving Physical Function:

The core to overcoming the psychological impact of falling is the improvement of physical function.

Our minds are dependent on the feedback from our body. When you fall, your mind links a certain activity with falling and starts telling you to avoid that.

We try to reverse that by having you perform targeted exercises that enhance strength, balance, and coordination. That not only improves your physical abilities but also gives you mastery and control over your body. This improvement in physical function directly correlates with reduced fear of falling.

That’s why we start safe physical movements early on in your post hospital rehab.

●     Simulating Real-Life Scenarios:

Our elderly physiotherapy at home after hospital stay service in London focuses on getting you back to doing your favourite activities ASAP.

For that, we use simulation exercises that mimic your daily activities or potential fall scenarios in a controlled and safe environment. This practice allows you to experience and navigate situations that may have caused anxiety or fear previously, under the direct supervision and guidance of a clearcut physiotherapy professional.

Over time, these simulations can desensitise you to the fear of falling during everyday activities.

●     Encouraging Mindfulness and Body Awareness:

We also incorporate elements of mindfulness and body awareness in your post hospital rehab, teaching you to be more present and attuned to your movements. This heightened awareness can help you recognize your body’s limits and abilities. It reduces the likelihood of movements that could lead to falls.

●     Support and Motivation:

We create a safe space for you to express concerns and fears and offer regular encouragement, validation of progress, and empathetic listening. You should know you’re not alone in your recovery journey. We’re just as invested as you are.

Pro tip: start your home physiotherapy rehab after a fall as early as possible.

Why?

Because the fear of falling again can significantly impact your quality of life. I’ve seen it led to a vicious cycle of decreased activity, further physical decline, social isolation, and increased risk of subsequent falls.

Understanding and addressing this fear is a critical part of recovery, where home physiotherapy for falls plays a pivotal role.

2.   Tailored Physical Activity for Safe Recovery

Every person’s recovery is unique, which is why we design customised exercise plans tailored to your specific needs and recovery goals.

Whether it’s regaining mobility or strengthening muscles, our expertise lies in creating a physiotherapy rehab plan that’s just right for you. One of our patients, Adan from London, went from being fully bedridden to walking with support. His son couldn’t believe the progress in just a few weeks.

That was possible because we tailored his physiotherapy post discharge from hospital program to his needs, environment, and goals. It allowed him to enjoy the process and look forward to his sessions with us.

3.   Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Future Falls

Building a stronger body is key to preventing future falls.

In our home physiotherapy sessions in Eltham, we introduce exercises that enhance muscle strength and endurance. By focusing on those areas most susceptible to injury from falls. We can fortify your body against future risks.

And these don’t have to be too difficult or complex.

One effective strengthening exercise that we commonly recommend to prevent future falls is the “Sit-to-Stand” exercise.

This exercise is particularly beneficial because it targets the muscles of the thighs and buttocks (quadriceps and gluteus muscles), which are crucial for standing, walking, and supporting balance.

The name of the exercise is self-explanatory, but here’s how you do it:

  • Find a sturdy chair.
  • Sit on it with support (and decrease support over time).
  • Stand back up with or without support.

As this exercise becomes easier, you can challenge yourself by not using your arms for support or holding light weights in your hands while performing the movement.

The Sit-to-Stand exercise is not only effective for strengthening but also practical. It mimics the action of standing up from a chair—a common daily activity.

Incorporating this exercise into your routine can significantly reduce the risk of falls by improving muscle strength, balance, and overall functional mobility.

4.   Enhancing Balance and Coordination

Improving your stability is crucial. We address any underlying causes that may contribute to falls through balance exercises and coordination training. This enhances your ability to navigate your home and daily life safely.

One highly effective exercise for enhancing balance and coordination, particularly after a hospital stay or fall, is the “Single-Leg Stand” exercise. This exercise works on your balance, coordination, and the strength of your lower body, especially around the joints.

Here’s how to perform it:

  • Stand upright.
  • Slowly lift one foot off the ground, bending the knee slightly.
  • You can extend your arms out to your sides if that helps with balance.
  • Try to keep your standing leg straight but not locked at the knee.
  • Switch after 10 sec.

As you progress, you can challenge your balance by increasing the standing time, closing your eyes, or moving objects between your hands.

The Single-Leg Stand exercise is particularly beneficial because it closely simulates real-life situations where maintaining balance on one leg is necessary, such as climbing stairs or reaching for objects on high shelves. It’s my go-to exercise for improving overall mobility and independence.

5.   Fall Risk Assessment at Home

One of the biggest benefits of doing physiotherapy at home in Battersea after a fall is getting your home environment and daily routines assessed to find potential fall risks. This proactive approach helps us tailor your post hospital rehab and ensure a safer living space.

6.   Educating on Safe Fall Techniques

Despite every possible precaution and comprehensive physiotherapy post discharge from hospital, you may fall again. You can minimise its impact by learning to break your fall. It can reduce the risk of serious injury, or another hospital stay.

Pro tip: if you don’t have any sturdy object around you that you can use to get up from the ground, crawl on all fours to the nearest heavy object, then use our recommended techniques to stand up safely.

7.   Avoid needing a carer and mobility being lost

Our goal is to help you regain the maximum level of independence to avoid needing constant at-home care. We’ve helped multiple patients save thousands of pounds a year by investing their time and money in our home physiotherapy services in Eltham, Battersea, Norbury and Woolwich. 

In 2024, the cost of care for the elderly at home in London can vary depending on whether you’re seeking full-time or part-time care, the level of care required, location, the qualifications of the carer, and the provider used:

For 24-hour live-in care after hospital discharge, the cost can start from around £800 per week and can go up to £1,500 per week. On average, the cost for an at-home carer in London is around £25 an hour​​​​​.

8.   Helping You Do Safe Level of Physical Activity

Starting to move again after a fall can be daunting. Our expert physiotherapists in London can guide you through exercises that match your current ability. We ensure your safety while you gradually build up your strength and mobility.

Take Home Message

Recovery after a hospital discharge, especially following a fall, is a journey that requires patience, strength, and the right support – at the right time.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own because we offer tailored physiotherapy for elderly at homes in Norbury, Woolwich, Eltham and Battersea. We help rebuild your strength, confidence, and independence, step by step.

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