Falls are a common cause of hospitalisation among older people – and that’s the last place you want them to be right now in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak.
Hospitals are directing all of their resources into treating an influx of patients with COVID-19. To that end, they’re cancelling elective surgeries, sending other patients home as soon as possible, and converting wards and operating theatres into places to treat coronavirus patients.
So, now is the time to look around your place or your folks’ place and take steps to reduce the risk of falls, starting with the slipperiest room of all – the bathroom. It’ll help reduce pressure on hospitals during the pandemic and it’ll also help to protect yourself or your loved ones from the often devastating effects of a fall.
How Falls Affect Older People
You’re more likely to fall as you get older. There are many reasons for that, including age-related changes in balance, vision, strength and cognitive function. As you get older, you’re also more likely to be living with health conditions and taking medications, some of which can increase the risk of falling.
In 2016-17, falls caused 75% of all hospitalisations in people aged 65 and over. The 125,000 older people who were admitted to hospital after falling experienced injuries to the head, hip and thigh.
A serious fall can have long-lasting physical and psychological consequences. It’s often associated with increased dependency on others and reduced quality of life. And, once you’ve fallen, you’re more likely to fall again.
Falls in the Bathroom
We’re all spending more time in the bathroom, these days, singing ourselves ‘Happy Birthday’ twice over while vigorously scrubbing our hands with soap and warm water.
People of any age can – and do – slip over in the bathroom. It’s often slippery when wet, there are lots of hard surfaces and there’s very little to grab hold of to stop yourself toppling over.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control in the US examined the topic of non-fatal falls in the bathroom. They found that most injuries occurred in or around the bathtub or shower, or on or around the toilet. Indeed, injuries caused by sitting down on or getting up from the toilet became much more common with age, causing more falls than the bathtub or shower among older people.
How Can Focused Health Care Help?
We provide in-home care for older people and people with disabilities. Led by Registered Nurses, we understand the impact falls have on older people’s health and wellbeing and we’re skilled at identifying and remedying fall hazards. We can recommend the right mobility aids to make your bathroom safer. We can also help you with personal care like showering, which reduces the risk of a fall.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help, please contact us.