Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants’ Knowledge and Use of the STEADI for Falls Risk Screening of Older Adults in Physical Therapy Practice in the United States

Jennifer L. Vincenzo, Lori A. Schrodt, Colleen Hergott, Tiffany E. Shubert, Jennifer S. Brach, Subashan Perera, Jennifer Tripken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fall-risk screening and prevention is within the scope of physical-therapy practice. Prior research indicates United States-based physical therapists (PTs) and physical-therapist assistants (PTAs) use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) toolkit for community-based fall-risk screenings of older adults. However, clinically based fall-risk screenings and knowledge and use of the STEADI by PTs and PTAs is unknown. We conducted a cross-sectional survey distributed to a convenience sample of PTs and PTAs in the United States through email blasts and social media. PTs and PTAs (N = 425) who responded to the survey and worked in clinical settings with older adults were included. Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported conducting clinical fall-risk screening. Approximately 51% were ‘familiar’ to ‘very familiar’ with the STEADI, and 21.7% of the overall sample were not familiar at all. Only 26.1% utilize the STEADI for clinical fall-risk screening. Of the respondents who were ‘very familiar’ with the STEADI (n = 132, 31.1%), 84.1% (n = 111) reported using the STEADI in clinical practice. Seventy-six percent of respondents who use the STEADI implemented it by choice even though the majority (52.1%, n = 63) did not have it embedded in their documentation/workflow. Some PTs/PTAs can and do manage falls using the STEADI, but there is a gap in knowledge and use of the STEADI for falls management among PTs and PTAs in the United States. Further research is needed to identify the tools PTs use for multifactorial-fall screening and management and the impact of PTs’ use of the STEADI on patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1354
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Keywords

  • Accidental injury
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Health services
  • Injury prevention
  • Preventive healthcare
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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