It is now well-known that as we age, bones become more fragile, mobility changes and vision deteriorates. As a result of this we are seeing falls, trips and slips occur all too often in the homes of older people. Recent data from the NSW Health ‘Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People’ committee states that ‘No other single cause of injury, including road trauma, costs the health system more than falls’. This statistic highlights the need for us to act- by raising awareness and providing services to assist older community members improve their safety and stay on their feet at home.
Effective falls prevention strategies require a team approach, which includes the client at risk of falls, the occupational therapist, and physiotherapist and in many cases the client’s family as well.
Common risk factors include:
- Poor mobility, lack of exercise and incorrect walking aid
- History of falls
- Incontinence or urinary frequency
- Steps without rails
- Cluttered furniture and/or furniture in walk ways
- Un-secured floor coverings and mats
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate footwear
- Obtruding cords and cable
As a team we look at:
- The client’s medical history, health conditions and medications that may increase the risk of falls
- The client’s physical abilities, including their balance, mobility and vision
- The home and community environments to identify risks
Falls prevention recommendations and strategies can include:
- A Physiotherapy program, including structured exercise and balance training
- Minor home modifications including installation of rails at steps, removal of floor mats and minimizing furniture
- Major modifications, including installation of a ramp, replacing bath tub with shower recess
- Equipment prescription, such as a new walking aid, shower chair or new footwear
At Advance Rehab Centre we are celebrating National April Falls Day on the 2nd of April 2012. So, if you know someone who is at risk of having a fall, contact us today. We provide comprehensive falls prevention services to ensure you stay on your feet!