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How Online Doctor Visits Can Help You Prevent Falls

person talking to their doctor in a virtual appointment

Can Telemedicine Help Prevent Falls?

Contributed by Jennifer Footit-Tank RN BSN, quality care coordinator at Network Health

Whether you struggle with balance or worry about traversing icy walkways, there are many reasons in the area of falls prevention to be apprehensive about visiting the doctor. You may even be suffering from a recent fall. Waiting for the symptoms to get better while being anxious that you may fall only increases your risk.

As you well know, sticking to your doctor appointments is still vital to ongoing health. One option to receive help while avoiding certain fall hazards is to contact your health care provider’s office for a telemedicine appointment. This is like a phone call with your doctor but uses your computer, tablet or smartphone instead, letting you talk to your doctor face-to-face from the comfort of your home.

Use Your Virtual Visit to Show Your Doctor At-Home Fall Hazards

These virtual doctor appointments can be used for a variety of purposes, including getting help with your at-home falls prevention. During the visit, your personal doctor may review ways to prevent a fall. By using your camera, you can show your doctor how you navigate the various areas of your home. In doing so, they can help you assess the following.

  • Does your home have bright lighting so you can see clearly?
  • Are the pathways in your home free from clutter and wide enough to walk so that you do not trip?
  • Are frequently used items easily reached so you don’t have to use a stool or need to get items from shelves?
  • Do you have grab bars or railings by stairs and in the bathroom?
  • Demonstrate how you walk
  • Review your activity level
  • Provide advice on what could be a trip hazard

You can also review medications, show your doctor the medicines you are taking and make notations on the bottles of any changes. Being proactive with your provider about problems with vision, balance or medications will reduce your chances of falling. Discussing ways to improve your strength and activity level will promote staying strong while staying at home.

[Read more: 10 Myths About Preventing Falls]

Other Uses for Virtual Doctor Visits

Some provider offices are offering physical therapy or exercise demonstrations through telemedicine. A therapist or provider can conduct sessions to improve your strength, balance, and endurance. You can view and perform the exercises and receive feedback on your success.

Many patients prefer telemedicine visits because they eliminate travel time, the need to find a parking spot and risk of falls on snowy days, while also resulting in less exposure to community illness. If you are uncomfortable with the technology, you can start with a phone call visit with your provider or have a family member help with the first telemedicine appointment.

If you have a Network Health Medicare Advantage plan, you can register for MDLIVE through your Network Health member portal to get access to board-certified physicians for around-the-clock treatment. It’s a convenient way to visit with a doctor or have your prescriptions filled if your personal doctor is unavailable.



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