With an ageing population, it’s no surprise that programmes, equipment and services aimed towards fall prevention in the elderly are more in demand than ever. HSJ states that in 2014, almost one quarter of all ambulance calls and around half or accident-related hospital visits were the result of a fall. This puts a huge financial strain on the NHS, and leads to both psychological and physical distress for the individuals affected.
When an elderly person falls, it can massively impact their confidence levels. They might become unsure of their own abilities and begin to do less for themselves, a factor leading to serious disorders like depression. A bad fall can also have major implications on the person’s physical health. According to Age UK falls are “the main cause of disability and the leading cause of death from injury among people aged over 75 in the UK.” This highlights the necessity to implement all possible methods of fall prevention.
Methods of Fall Prevention in the Elderly
Due to the increased awareness of conditions affecting older persons, we are seeing innovative new solutions to common causes of falls. For example, one of our clients The Haven care home implemented glow in the dark lights and footsteps as well as LED lit toilet bowls and walking frames. Since these changes were made, they have seen a huge decrease in the amount of falls compared to the same time last year. However, methods for preventing falls don’t stop there. Beaucare, for example, supply a huge selection of mobility equipment for extra security when on the move. We also supply a variety of advanced fall prevention systems from leading brands.
There are also ways that the individual or carer can lessen chances of experiencing a fall, and these practices are just as important. For example, keeping up-to-date with eye check-ups can help to monitor any difficulty with tripping on hazards or obstacles. A walk-through inspection of the home can also identify areas where grab rails, shower chairs etc. could be added, improving the person’s mobility and safety.
Regular exercise and/or physiotherapy is also important to reduce the likelihood of a fall. In fact, CSP states that “If everyone 65+ at risk of falling was referred to physiotherapy 160,000 falls would be prevented, saving the NHS £250 million every year”. Physiotherapy helps to maintain your heart and muscle mass by keeping you in shape and improving balance.
What to do if an Elderly Person Falls
Even if you take all of the precautions listed above, unfortunately there will still be instances where an older person might fall. If this is the case, it is important to be aware of the proper procedure in order to offer the best support and care. The steps you will need to vary will vary depending on their condition.
If they are unconscious, you should call 911 straight away before checking vital signs such as respiration and pulse. You should also take note of any obvious injuries whilst keeping the individual as still as possible, reporting this to medical staff as appropriate. It is essential that you don’t leave the person’s side before the arrival of emergency services.
If the individual remains conscious and alert, you should try to keep them comfortable and still in case of hidden wounds. You should then check for any obvious signs of injury and ask about the level of pain the person is experiencing, giving them plenty of time to adjust and recuperate before helping them up. Based on your assessment, you could either dial 911 or schedule an appointment with their GP as a fall could indicate a new/worsening medical condition.
Beaucare supply an extensive selection of reliable, high quality fall prevention aids from leading brand names. For more information and tailored advice on which products are best suited to your needs, contact our knowledgeable team today.