Fall Prevention

This month let’s look at some preventable injuries that can occur – let’s look at falls.

  • Falls are one of the more common injuries on the job or around the home
  • Falls can be serious – 1/5 of all falls results in critical injuries – over 800,000 persons / year are hospitalized for falls – often for fractured hips or brain injury (CDC )
  • Falls are the most common source of TBI – traumatic brain injury (CDC) and with more and more elderly patients on blood thinners the likelihood of brain hemorrhage as a result of a fall has increased as well.
  • Fall calls make up a large volume of ambulance calls – from 12 to 17% of all calls and most (75%) occur in the home …
  • Fall calls have increased over the past 10 years – especially in seniors over 65 years of age

Why are falls so common? There are lots of reasons and understanding some of these will help in prevention of fall injuries …

  • Medications – some medications may affect balance or make you feel dizzy and weak …
  • Poor footwear – shoes that have little support and no traction …
  • Ice and other environmental hazards that increase our chance of slipping / falling …
  • Home clutter – obstructions and trip hazards in around the home …
  • Medical conditions that affect balance and coordination or the ability to ambulate safely …

How can we reduce the risk of falling?  Identify the fall risks and work to reduce them!

  • See your doctor if medications or a medical condition might be increasing your fall risk – this is especially true if you have already had a fall …
  • Apply traction aids like sand or rock salt to improve traction on icy surfaces
  • Make your home safer – pick up clutter – secure rugs so they do not slip – install grab rails / bars at dangerous places – like on stairs or showers – keep high traffic areas of the home clean and free of obstructions
  • Stay in shape – get regular exercise to improve muscle tone and balance / coordination …
  • Light up your home – dark areas such as basements and stairwells invite falls – install better lighting in these places to see potential fall threats – this is especially true for routes in the house that you will travel at night – when you’re tired and not quite alert – like that midnight bathroom run
  • Use an assistance device – canes / walkers / grab rails all can help in preventing a fall

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