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Falls and preventing harm from falls

Did you know that every day about 38 older people are admitted to an SA public hospital injured after a fall?  Read more about how many South Australians are affected by falls (PDF 147KB). Falls don’t have to be an inevitable part of ageing. Learn what you can do to keep safe and independent (PDF 150KB).

There are plenty of things that you can do to help prevent falls and harm from falls, these include:

How safe are you from falling?

People who are active and look after their health and their home are protecting themselves against the risk of falls. You may not know if you are at risk. Early detection of falls risk is important to avoid injury and keep your independence and mobility.

A survey (PDF 401KB) conducted for SA Health in 2015 showed that older people now have a better understanding of the things that can be done to reduce their falls risk, than when a previous survey was conducted in 2007. The actions people know to do include:

  • modifying the home and removing obstacles such as electric cords
  • changing medication
  • using a walking aid
  • having an assessment of balance, walking and/or muscle strength
  • doing regular balance exercises
  • having eyesight/glasses checked regularly
  • increasing physical activity levels.

Are you at risk of falling? Falls prevention self-screen checklist

If you are over 50 please take a couple of minutes to complete the Are you at risk of falling? Self-screen checklist (PDF 119KB). It will give you a guide as to how safe you are from falling, and the areas of your health that might need your attention. If you have osteoporosis, your risk of injury maybe higher.

This checklist is not intended to indicate or assign a level of risk of falls to the individual.

The checklist is available in languages other than English

Finding your local falls services

Falls prevention service directories provide a comprehensive listing of all services that offer falls prevention programs, including SA Health Falls Clinics and Day Therapy, Domiciliary Care and private allied health. These are available for:

If you are unsure, telephone 1300 0 FALLS (1300 0 32557) for information about services in the metropolitan area.

For Country SA services, please contact your local community health service for information about services that are available close to you. You can also contact the Falls Program Manager on Health.CHSAFallsPreventionProject@health.sa.gov.au

Strength for Life promotes health and well-being and helps reduce the risk of falling in people over 50, through strength and balance training programs that are run by accredited community-based fitness providers.

Strong muscles and bones

Being active, having enough vitamin D and eating the right foods are all important to help us stay healthy, keep our bones and muscles strong and our brain working well. Two fact sheets have been developed to assist you:

Eyesight 

Eyesight is important for everyone to maintain independence, keep steady and move around safely. See the Eyesight and walking fact sheet (PDF 324KB) for information on:

  • simple yet effective tips on how you can help prevent falls cause by eyesight
  • how often you should get your eyes checked
  • where you can go for help.

Medicines can affect your balance

Manage your medicines to help you stay on your feet. Taking your medicines correctly, when combined with physical activity, will help you to sleep better, stay steady, be independent and enjoy life. See the Medicines and balance fact sheet (PDF 200KB) for information on:

  • what you can do if medicines affect your balance
  • who you can go to for help.

Dizziness

Do you often feel dizzy? Being steady and safe is important for keeping your balance and staying independent. There are many reasons why people feel dizzy. Doctors can work out the causes, and dizziness can be easily treated in many cases See Dizziness and balance fact sheet (PDF 175KB) for information on:

  • what dizziness is
  • what you can do
  • when to seek urgent medical help
  • where you can go for help.

Comfy feet

Over the years everyone’s feet change shape, lose padding underneath and the skin can change. This can affect balance and walking, and lead to pain, slips, trips and falls. See the Comfy feet go a long way (PDF 268KB) for information on:

  • how you can look after your feet
  • tips to picking the best shoes
  • common foot problems
  • where to go for help.

Plan what you would do if you fall over

No one expects to have a fall, but having a plan will help you to be confident and get on with life. If you spend a lot of time alone, it is worth thinking about how to get help in an emergency, how to get up from the floor and what to do after a fall. See Standing up to falls fact sheet (PDF 285KB) for some ideas around:

  • how to prepare yourself for a fall
  • what to do if you fall
  • things to consider if you cannot get up
  • who to tell and what to do after a fall
  • where to go to help you falling again.

Practical ways to stay independent at home

Set yourself up to stay independent at home. For advise see your Occupational Therapist, Independent Living Centre, local council or DoctorTake a fresh look at your house to see if it is helping you to stay independent and active. Do you and your house still suit each other? Sometimes little changes can make a big difference. Sometimes it is better to move to a more suitable house. More than six out of ten slips, trips and falls happen in and around the home. Hazards are easy to overlook but can be easy to fix. Check for home hazards regularly and get them fixed. See Making your home your haven fact sheet (PDF 383KB) for information on:

  • ways you can reduce your risk of falling inside your home
  • ways you can reduce your risk of falling outside your home
  • where you can go for help.

Keeping safe and independent in hospital

Hospitals are unfamiliar places and this can be a challenge when you are also unwell or injured. You might feel dizzy or weaker and less steady than you expect, when you get up. You may be at risk of falling. Staff want to keep you safe and avoid falls, but we need your help. See Keeping safe and independent in hospital fact sheet (PDF 231KB) for:

  • what you can do during the hospital stay
  • walking around the hospital
  • things to be mindful of when getting up and walking around
  • tips to avoid dizziness.

New mums and babies

New mums and babies are also at risk to falls. See New mums and bub can fall too fact sheet (PDF 105KB) for information on:

  • why you are at an increased risks of falling
  • things you can do to avoid falling
  • keeping your baby safe from falling

Whilst in hospital, if you or your baby do have a fall it is very important that you let your midwife know.

Don’t fall for it – falls can be prevented booklet

Image of the front cover for &aposDon&apost fall for it&apos bookletThe Don’t fall for it – falls can be prevented booklet (PDF 1310KB) is a guide to preventing falls for older people. It is aimed at older people living in the community and their families and carers. It has information about three aspects of falls prevention:

  • fall-proofing yourself - intrinsic falls risk factors and how these can be reduced.
  • fall-proofing your surroundings - extrinsic falls risk factors, relating to the environment and how these can be reduced.
  • just in case - making a plan to get help if you fall, and how to get yourself or another person up from the floor in the event of a fall.

The booklet is available in languages other than English

Posters

Click on the image below to download the relevant poster.

If you think that your patient is at risk of falls, then they probably are. Doing a falls risk assessment will help you to plan their care.  Falls are preventable. We all have a role to play    Don&apost fall for it. Falls can be prevented! Choose a fun way to keep active and maintain your balance - a falls prevention intiative  Out and About. Hints to help you feel confident in public places      

The posters are available in languages other than English

Translated information

 

Checklist and booklets

Are you at risk of falling? Falls prevention self-screen checklist

Don’t fall for it – falls can be prevented booklet

Email health@nationalmailing.com.au or phone (02) 6269 1000 for a copy of Don’t fall for it – falls can be prevented booklet in:

  • Polish
  • Italian
  • German
  • Chinese.

 

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