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Don’t be an April fall, watch your step

Monday, 3 April 2017

South Australians are being reminded of the dangers of falls, with latest data showing that more than 21,000 people were admitted to public hospitals across the state last year with fall-related injuries.

SA Health Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips, said falls continued to be a significant issue especially for older people.

“Last year our public hospitals admitted 21,120 people with falls-related injuries, more than 65 per cent of these people were over 65,” Professor Phillips said.

“This means around 38 older people are admitted per day from falls, compared with one per day for injuries from a car accident.

“The most common injuries sustained from a fall are hip and leg fractures, which can have long term impacts on people’s mobility and independence.

“Nearly one fifth of older people who suffered a fall also sustained head or brain injuries and tragically in 2016 we had 395 deaths from injuries sustained from a fall.

“This highlights the importance of looking out for and supporting elderly friends and relatives who may be at risk of falling.

“It’s also is a reminder that while the chance of falls increases as we age, people with health conditions or a disability, and anyone undergoing surgical procedures or dialysis can be at a higher risk.”

Meanwhile, research commissioned by SA Health shows that community attitudes and understanding of what can be done to reduce falls has changed significantly between 2007 and 2015.

People, especially older adults who had experienced a fall, better understood how to recognise and address risk factors by modifying the home and removing obstacles such as electric cords, having regular eyesight and medication checks, using a walking aid, or doing regular balance exercises.

April is Falls Awareness Month with activities and information sessions for staff and the public happening across the state.

More information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/Falls.

Admissions to SA public hospitals for falls-related injuries

Year No. of serious falls
2013 15,824
2014 17,078
2015 19,175
2016 21,120

 

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