The Value of Physiotherapy: Falls

Role of Physiotherapy in Falls Prevention and Fall-related Injuries

Physiotherapists are integral to inter-professional falls prevention programs and rehabilitation services for older adults who have experienced a fall. Physiotherapy effectively improves strength, motor function and balance in older adults at risk of falling and those with fall-related injuries. Physiotherapists assess individuals to screen for risk of falls and manage falls prevention programs. Physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises, activities and interventions, and provide advice on managing environmental risks. Falls prevention programs reduce both the risk and rate of falls and fall- related morbidity resulting in overall decreased costs to the health care system. It is estimated that falls and fall-related injuries cost the Canadian health care system approximately $2.8 billion a year with $980 million alone spent on treating injuries related to falls.


Impact on Patient Experience

Falls are a major cause of injury, disability and mortality in seniors.

  • Physiotherapy interventions to prevent falls improves patient confidence and reduces the fear of falling that restricts physical activity.
  • Patient acceptance of falls prevention programs is high.
  • Patients value the benefits of targeted falls prevention programs, including physiotherapy, for reducing the risk of falls and preventing the occurrence of falls.


Impact on Population Health

Physiotherapist screening, assessment and interventions to prevent falls and fall-related injuries improves quality of life (QOL) by removing restrictions of activities that come from a fear of falling.

  • Physiotherapy programs, including balance and strength retraining, reduce mortality, hospitalization rates and transfers to nursing homes resulting in better patient outcomes.
  • Multidisciplinary falls prevention programs decrease the incidence of falls, fall-related morbidity and costs to the health care system.
  • Balance training by a physiotherapist improves QOL, physical function, strength, balance, social interaction and overall wellbeing.



The treatment of falls and fall related injuries is a significant economic burden. Physiotherapist led exercise programs reduces both the risk and the rate of falls in older adults, while improving physical functioning, balance and muscle strength. Falls prevention programs are more cost effective than treating fall-related injuries. Physiotherapist screening for risk of falls reduces both the number of falls and the costs of fall-related treatment.


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The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) represents physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants and physiotherapist students across Canada. CPA members are rehabilitation professionals dedicated to the health, mobility and fitness of Canadians.

Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals who combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.

More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.

The CPA presents its educational references as a public service and for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CPA membership