A simple fall can be a frightening and sometimes life-changing event. It can decrease your mobility and independence and lead to hospitalization. Falls are a leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries. Each year, more than one-third of adults age 65 years or older experiences a fall.

Northwest Hospital’s Safety & Gait Enhancement Program (SAGE) is designed to reduce the risk of injury from falls by improving a patient’s balance and mobility skills. The program involves an initial assessment by our licensed physical therapists. Patients are scheduled for weekly therapy sessions for four to eight weeks, plus a customized exercise program to do at home every day. We evaluate leg strength and range of motion, balance and gait (how you walk). We also evaluate previous falls or balance issues and will develop a customized treatment program and home exercise plan for each patient.

The program emphasizes strengthening, flexibility and balance exercises; shoe selection; safe walking training; and techniques to safely rise from chairs. Patients use our Easy Street® environment to practice new techniques.

Designed for individuals who are active but who have developed unsteadiness that has led to a fear of falling, our program helps those who:

  • Walk slower than usual
  • Shuffle as they walk
  • Walk with their feet wide apart in an effort to maintain better balance
  • Reach for walls and furniture for balance
  • Are unsteady when turning
  • Have recently experienced a fall
  • Have difficulty sitting and rising from a chair

Treatment typically involves one to two visits a week, for four to eight weeks. The program is covered by most insurance companies providers.