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Falls prevention at home

Posted: 10/10/2017 6:11 PM by Just Better Care
Falls prevention at home Taking preventative measures can be the best way to minimise falls at home. A falls prevention home assessment is an important measure to take for anyone who lives on their own, or those who are at risk of falling.

People who have had a fall should also consider having an assessment and talk to someone about their experience.

Physiotherapist Anthony Moore has been practicing in the industry for 15 years. Ten of those years have been spent specialising in delivering services to older Australians to provide advice and guidance on keeping themselves  healthy and happy at home.

Mr Moore and his colleagues at Optimise Allied Health conduct assessments of people’s homes to identify trip hazards and recommend prevention methods to ensure people can remain living safely and independently at home.

Mr Moore said primary considerations for falls prevention included assessing the person’s strength and endurance, footwear and foot hygiene, loose items, diet and fluid intake, preventative tools and home modifications, and medication intake and timing.

Common injuries caused by falls

Psychological injuries caused by a fall can have a detrimental impact. When people fall in the home, they can become fearful and hesitant to go out into community and do the activities they previously enjoyed.

This can have a bearing on their mental wellbeing, as they can feel isolated, and also their physical health because they aren’t exercising, increasing the likelihood of another fall.

“This is why it is so important to ensure people receive post-fall support, to help build their confidence back up and take proactive approaches to remove other potential hazards in their home,” Mr Moore said.

Common physical injuries can include bruising and lacerations, fractures, and broken bones. One of the most common injuries amongst the aged population, particularly people who have decreased bone density from ageing, is a fractured neck or femur.

“A fracture from a fall means people  can’t always get to a phone to call for help, which is why carrying a personal alarm is so important.”

What to do if you have a fall

Having accessing to home monitoring and a personal alarm is very important. Often when people have a fall, they aren’t able to move or reach the phone to call for assistance.

If you have a fall, even a minor one, notify your support professional or GP immediately, or emergency services, as you may have caused internal damage that isn’t obvious straight away.

For example, Mr Moore says a pelvic fracture is an injury that isn’t necessarily detected immediately, but the implications can have a long lasting effect if not tended to after a fall.

Mr Moore also encouraged people to use personal alarms when prescribed. 

“Personal alarms have been around for a long time and there are a lot of additional tools available now in the market that can track someone’s movements. Some can detect whether the person is laying down, sitting or moving, and where they are located in the house,” Mr Moore said.

“Some personal alarms are being fitted into jewellery to make them more discreet.”

Read the next issue of Just Better Care’s magazine, Possible, due out in November, to read about common risk factors in the home, available funding for a home assessment, as well as Mr Moore’s top tips for making your home safe and accessible.

For more information, or to download falls prevention resources, visit optimisealliedhealth.com.au or search ‘falls prevention’ on www.myagedcare.gov.au/

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