Falls In The Elderly |How To Provide Help After A Fall
Frequency Of Falls In The Elderly
In 2009/2010, an estimated 83,800 of the Australian falls in the elderly population results in hospitalisation.
A staggering statistic.
Falls in the elderly are common as mobility reduces in older age. However, to consider that these were falls that were severe enough to result in hospitalisation is worrying. One third of these hospitalisations are from falls where the person sustained injuries to their hip and thigh, and mostly hip fractures. One average, 15.5 days are spent in hospital following one of these hospitalisations after a fall with a recovery time of an average of 6 months to their pre-fall functioning.
Causes? An older person’s mobility reduces with age. As they walk around their home, often outside, or perhaps as they head into the bathroom or bedroom, they are far less capable of correcting their bodies’ momentum when they slip, trip or stumble. Invariably, a fall happens. For those older people who are living at home in the community, it is expected that they will sustain one fall per year. For those older people with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (including previous strokes), Parkinson’s Disease and vision problems, the risk of falls and likelihood of falls is considerably greater. Most notably, if a elderly person has had one fall, that in itself constitutes an increased risk for them having future falls.
So understanding the risks that will increase the chance of falls in the elderly is critical when providing care. But so is accepting that falls are undoubtedly going to happen. When they do, you need the skills to assess your patient’s ability to bear their own weight, whether an injury has occurred and the technique to safely getting them back to bed or a chair without you bearing their weight. Protecting your back is essential to protecting your long term ability to caring for your patient, so follow these techniques and manage yourself and your patient perfectly
Have you had to manage your patient after they’ve sustained a fall? How did you manage?
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare