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Staying out of the Hospital: Fall Preventon

Updated on November 1, 2015

Fall Prevention and You.

This is the last Hub about Staying out of the Hospital. The topic is Fall Prevention. It should be easy, do not fall, and you have less of a chance to be in a hospital as a patient. Still, there are ways to prevent falls in the home or your environment. First, here are some interesting facts about falls:

  1. Falls are more common than strokes

  2. Falls are the most preventable cause of nursing home placement

  3. Falls can happen with everyday life activities such as bathing, walking, and getting dressed

  4. Twenty percent of those who fall with injury pass away within a year

  5. Forty Percent of hip fracture patients never make it back home

  6. In 1966 John Glenn Jr. fell in the bathtub that halted his early entry into politics.

  7. Dr. Robert Atkins died on April 17th, 2003 from a fall near his office

  8. Author Kurt Vonnegut passed away on April 11th, 2007 after a fall caused brain damage

  9. Kelsey Grammer, from the sitcom Fraiser, fell at Disneyland in May of 2005, but was not seriously hurt

  10. More Health problems mean a person is more likely to fall.

Seems like falls happen everywhere. Frankly, I have fallen before. One time while at work I thought my chair was behind me, and it was not. I fell to the ground and it hurt. Still, if that was someone else that had weaker bones or many health issues, that fall may have been tragic. Do health problems increase the risk or falls? Yes, they increase the risk. Here is a list of health problems that increase the risk of falls.

  1. Problems with ambulation

  2. Four or more prescriptions

  3. Orthostatic blood pressure issues

  4. Vision problems

  5. Foot problems

Other circumstances, such as unsafe footwear and tripping hazards in your home can increase the risk of falls. Statistically, did you know that if you have just three of these health problems or other circumstances there is a six out of ten chance you will fall? Eight out of ten people will fall if they have four or more, statistically speaking. Wow, those odds are high, but what do you do to better your odds in preventing falls?

Here are some tips in preventing falls. Does that mean you will not have a fall if you follow this blog to the letter, no. It means you reduce the risk of having a fall. The Mayo clinic listed six ways to reduce the risk of a fall. First, make an appointment with your doctor. During this appointment you and your doctor can take a look at your personal environment, medications, aliments, and gait to see how vulnerable you are to a fall. Just by looking at your medications with your doctor can reduce the risk of a fall at home. Second, keep moving. No exercise leads to falls. If you fear that you will fall while exercising, talk to your doctor to get a healthy exercise routine that you can safely accomplish. Thirdly, wear sensible shoes. The shoes should fit properly, and shoes that are laced (if the laces are tied) or hook and loop fastened are safer than those that just slip on. Fourthly, remove those tripping hazards at your home. Throw rugs are tripping hazards. The rugs can move along the floor and cause you to trip. Plus, the ends can fray up and cause a fall. In the bathroom, use nonskid floor mats. Wet floors are dangerous. Clutter, including newspapers, on floors can cause a fall. If your floors need to be waxed, I suggest nonskid wax. Basically, keep your floors clear of clutter, moisture and rugs. Next, light up the living area of the home. More light means you can see obstacles that are in front of you and avoid those obstacles. Animals (such as dogs and cats) tend to move around the house, and by having more light means you can see and avoid tripping over them and falling. Lastly, use assistive devices to prevent falls. Some ideas of good assistive devices in the house are as follows: secure grab bars in the shower, a shower chair in the shower, cane, and a walker. Plus, use safe handrails when they are needed or provided. Also, a walker or cane sitting in the corner of your house (dusty and unused) does no good in fall prevention.

So, these are steps to prevent a fall. Be proactive, assess yourself and your environment. If you or your doctor see a need to change an aspect of your personal life or your environment, change it and do not delay. Falls are dangerous and lead to hospitalizations, medical bills, nursing homes, or worst yet, death. It is your life, be proactive.

Matthew RN

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