It’s a story you might hear often; one of an older person suffering a fall.
The consequences, particularly in later life, can be physically and emotionally devastating, potentially resulting in loss of mobility, independence and confidence.
Falls and fall-related injuries are a common and serious problem.
People aged 65 and over have the highest risk of falling, with 30 per cent of those over 65 and 50 per cent of those over 80 falling at least once a year.
Patients describe falls as frightening and worry that they may fall again.
This often stops people from carrying out their usual activities, leaving them with less independence and withdrawal from social activities.
Many patients who are admitted to the Welland Ward in Johnson Community Hospital have experienced at least one fall in the last year.
While patients are in our care, we try to provide as much support and reassurance as possible, from trying to identify why the fall happened and looking at how we can prevent it from happening again.
This might include reviewing medication, environmental assessments and advice looking at where the patient lives, such as taking up rugs and ensuring that rooms are clutter free and well lit, mobility assessments, and whether that person could benefit from some equipment to help them around their home.
We also encourage patients, carers and relatives to think about what they can do to help keep someone at risk of a fall safe.
Are you managing to stay reasonably fit and healthy through regular physical activity and eating healthily? Don’t be scared to ask for advice from a health professional if you need some guidance.
Make sure you have regular eyesight checks so poor vision does not impair you in any way.
Is there a loose mat or floor covering you’ve been meaning to have repaired for a while?
Take this opportunity to get the job done so it’s no longer a trip hazard.
Also think about removing or securing flexes or wires which trail across the floor.
Keep frequently used household items in easy reach. Don’t struggle, stretch or try to stand on unstable objects to get to them.
Take care of your feet and give them a bit of TLC, and wear well-fitting shoes and slippers.
Outside, look at paths and walkways and keep them clear.
Be a good neighbour if you can help, especially as the weather deteriorates throughout winter.
BY SIMON TEMPLE
Lincolnshire Community Health Services’ Head of Clinical Services for South East Lincolnshire