Preventing falls, part 1

There is no other single injury cause, including road trauma, which costs the health system more than injuries related from falls, according to the NSW Health Department.

Falls are a major cause of harm to older people and fall-related injuries impose a substantial burden on the health care and aged care systems. In 2006/07 the total cost of health care associated with fall injuries in older people was estimated at $558.5 million and this burden from fall related harm among older people is expected to grow as our population ages.

It is projected that by 2056, between 23 and 25 per cent of the Australian population will be 65 years or older.

While falls are common among people aged over 65 years, they are even more frequent among older people with dementia, with up to 80 per cent of people living with dementia falling in a 12-month period. In addition to the high risk of falling, people living with dementia have a substantially higher risk of injury associated with their falls.

Dr Keith Hill, Head of the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science at Curtin University in Western Australia, writes in Australian Ageing Agenda that there are a number of risk factors which can increase the chances of dementia sufferers injuring themselves in a fall.

“It is important for a falls risk assessment to be undertaken and a targeted management plan developed to address identified risk factors for the person living with dementia who presents with a fall, (although this may need some tailoring), as it is when an older person without dementia presents with a fall,” Dr Keith Hill writes.

However, the good news is the research indicates that when it comes to elderly care, many falls can be prevented and the risk of injury reduced

Which is why it is important to create a safe living space and just a few basic changes can drastically reduce the risk.

Equally, it is prudent to have a qualified home care service such as Oxley Home Care to undertake an assessment of the home.

To find out more about reducing the likelihood of falls in the home, read part two of our falls prevention blog.

Oxley Home Care is an award-winning, nationally accredited family owned and operated business. For the last 10 years, we have been providing in-home care throughout the Sydney metropolitan area to enable people to live independently in their own home.

Our teams of carefully selected, fully qualified and experienced care workers and nurses are here to help you. Our Care Managers will discuss and develop a care plan designed to meet your individual and specific needs. For more information, please feel free to call us on 1300 993 591.

Gilian Douglass

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