Tips to Avoid Falling During Your Appointments at MSK

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This video shows what you can do to avoid falling during your appointments at MSK.

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This video shows what you can do to avoid falling during your appointments at MSK.

We know at home you may be able to do your daily activities on your own or with your caregiver’s help, but there are lots of things outside your home that can make you more likely to fall, such as uneven ground and bad weather.

Falls can lead to serious injury and make you less independent. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to avoid falling and stay safe. Here are some simple things you can do.

Before Your Appointment

Try to get a full night’s sleep the night before your appointment. Appointments can be tiring, and it’s helpful to be well-rested.

The day of your appointment, wear safe shoes that support your feet. Shoes that have a low, angled heel; a supported heel collar; thin, hard, non-slip soles; and that close with shoelaces or Velcro are a good choice.

If you use eyeglasses or hearing aids, wear them to your appointment. It’s important that you can see and hear as clearly as possible.

Bring a list of all the medications and dietary supplements you’re taking. Dietary supplements are things like vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies. Don’t forget to include both over-the-counter and prescription medications on your list. Your healthcare provider will check this list to see if you’re taking any medications or supplements that might make you more likely to fall.

If you have trouble walking, ask your caregiver to come to your appointments and bring any supportive devices you use, such as your walker, cane, or wheelchair.

Some MSK locations have free valet service. If you drive to your appointments, have the valet service park your car so you don’t have to spend energy walking from the parking lot to the building.

If you have trouble walking and don’t have a wheelchair, ask the person at the entrance to bring you one. When you check in, ask the clinic coordinator to arrange for a patient escort to help you.

In the waiting room and exam room, don’t get up from your chair on your own if you’re feeling weak or have trouble rising from the chair. Ask a staff member for help.

During Your Appointment

During your appointment, tell your care team if you ever have trouble walking, feel off-balance, or feel dizzy; if you have trouble seeing or hearing; or if you’ve fallen before or are worried about falling.

Your care team will also ask you about the medications and supplements you take. Use the list you brought to make sure they know everything you’re taking. Your care team will use all this information to assess your risk of falling.

You might not feel as strong during and after your appointment as you did when you came in, especially if your appointment lasts a long time. You can ask for a wheelchair or a patient escort to help you at any time.

Everyone can be a little safer by following these tips to avoid falling, but it’s especially important if you have any risk factors that can make you more likely to fall, such as:

  • If you have trouble seeing or hearing, poor balance, trouble walking, or feel weak.
  • If you’ve fallen before.
  • If you’re getting a medication or treatment with side effects that increase your risk of falling.
  • If your cancer or cancer treatment cause physical changes, like fatigue, numbness in your feet, or dizziness.

We’re here to help and keep you safe. If you have any questions about preventing falls, you can find more resources on our website. Go to www.mskcc.org/pe and search “falls.” You can also ask your healthcare provider for more information.

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