Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a rare, but severe form of neurodegenerative disease that causes nerves in the spine and brain to lose function and eventually become inactive. Unfortunately, the disease affects several areas of the body, resulting in various symptoms including muscle aches, fatigue, speech difficulties and weight loss.
Another common symptom that people living with MND need to be aware of is a negative change in their balance, posture, and ability to walk, which all increase the risk of falling. While there are no current cures for this disease, mitigating fall risk is an area an Occupational Therapist can often help with through various methods. These areas can include:
Fall risk assessment
The main components of a fall risk assessment include looking at a detailed fall history, reviewing medication use, assessing physical risk factors and considering any other relevant diseases or illnesses. The next step is a physical examination where we look at factors like neurological cognitive function, gait, balance, lower limb strength and vision. With a thorough examination conducted an Occupational Therapist can decide what action needs to occur to best reduce the risk of falling and ensure you can complete daily living activities.
In some cases, a fall risk assessment may not be required and instead, a simple removal of external risk factors or a home modification may be implemented. This can include removing hazards like rugs, furniture, loose items and improving poor lighting. There may also be an opportunity to modify the home and utilise specialised equipment to help with potentially hazardous activities to mitigate risk by adding a hand rail in your shower or hallway.
Client education on fall risk
Our Allied Health experts will provide valuable education to maximise their client’s safety within the home; especially if a carer isn’t always present. This could include footwear recommendations, prescribed exercise programs, home modifications and general advice for preventing falls in your own environment.
What to do now?
For clients who suffer from Motor Neurone Disease, Occupational Therapy can play an important role in improving your quality of life and maximising safety within the home. If you are considering engaging an Occupational Therapist for yourself or a loved one, please reach out to our friendly team on 1300 122 884 to book an appointment.