Prevention of Falls:
More than 500,000 people aged 65 years and over attend accident and emergency departments every year as the result of accidents at home – the majority of these being falls. Frighteningly more than 3,500 people in England and Wales die every year following a fall and nearly a third of a million people need hospital treatment. Many older people who suffer from falls never fully recover from either the physical or psychological impact of their injuries. Sadly, falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over the age of 75.
Although the fall itself often doesn’t cause a serious injury; if the casualty is unable to get up following their fall, they are more likely to suffer hypothermia and pressure sores. Most accidents in the elderly result from falls from stairs or steps with over 60 per cent of deaths resulting from accidents on stairs. Therefore, it is extremely important to take steps to prevent falls where possible.
How to prevent falls:
- Items should not be left on the stairs as it is too easy to trip over them.
- Replace damaged carpet and avoid repetitive carpet patterns that can affect perception and make it more difficult to see individual stairs.
- Ensure landings, stairs and hallways are well lit with two-way light switches.
- Ensure banisters are secure and sturdy, two easy-grip handrails gives more stability.
General help and advice to prevent injuries:
- As we get older we are more prone to lose our balance through sudden movements, e.g. getting out of bed or a chair too quickly – this is often more apparent if taking medication for high blood pressure. Getting up very slowly and bringing the head up last can reduce the dizzy effects of postural hypotension.
- Floors and surfaces should be as clear as possible as worn rugs, slippery floors and paths, uneven surfaces, trailing flexes, and items left lying around make falling far more likely.
- Pay attention to footwear – ill-fitting shoes that have lost their grip, or old slippers often precipitate a fall.
- Grab rails and places to sit down in the bathroom and kitchen can be helpful if suddenly feeling dizzy.
- Floors should be cleaned carefully to ensure that they are not slippery and any spillages should be immediately and thoroughly removed.
Having a fall could be an indicator of a treatable underlying health problem. It is sensible to make an appointment with the GP for a check up and possibly ask for a referral to an NHS Falls Clinic where they can further investigate and help instigate measures to prevent further falls. There are specific muscle strengthening exercise classes, physiotherapy and lots of advice and support.
Ensure you have a charged mobile phone with you at all times and consider installing a community alarm system to make it easier to quickly summon help if needed.
There is helpful technology available such as telecare technology that sends an alert to a relative, carer or call centre if you get up from a bed or chair and don’t return in a set time.
Talkhealth have great information on health and wellbeing and are running a special online clinic on pain management and arthritis this October – for more details visit http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/online_clinics
Train with us
We offer tailored first aid courses covering the above topics to empower you with the skills to keep you and your family safe and well. We have a superb online 8 hour course for mental health first aid. It consists of videos, step by step directions, infographics and test yourself sections. You can stop and start as you wish. It covers all aspects of Mental Health First Aid, with an emphasis on promoting good mental health. There are tips for mental well-being, help for organisations, advice for mental first aiders and key pointers to help recognise early warning signs someone may be struggling with their mental health.
First Aid for Life provide award-winning first aid training tailored to your needs – Please visit our site and learn more about our practical and online courses. It is vital to keep your skills current and refreshed. We are currently providing essential training for individuals and groups across the UK. In addition, we have a great range of online courses. These are ideal as refreshers for regulated qualifications or as Appointed Person qualifications.
You can attend a fully regulated Practical or Online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit https://firstaidforlife.org.uk or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.
First Aid for Life is a multi-award-winning, fully regulated first aid training provider. Our trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals who will tailor the training to your needs. Courses for groups or individuals at our venue or yours.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken on this information.
9 top tips to prevent falling and first aid advice if we fall is written by Emma Hammett for firstaidforlife.org.uk