It has become common knowledge that falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in older patients. How does fall prevention equipment help reduce the fear of falling among elderly patients?
Falls are defined as unintentionally changing from upright or sitting to prone or lying down. They occur due to various reasons such as weakness, dizziness, impaired balance, poor vision, reduced mobility and environmental hazards. Falls often result in injuries such as fractures, bruises, sprains, and strains.
These injuries may cause pain, muscle atrophy, disorientation, and permanent disability. The costs incurred include medical expenses, nursing home care and rehabilitation therapy. In addition, they also add to the burden of family members who take time off from their jobs to care for their loved ones.
Falls are preventable with proper fall prevention equipment. This equipment helps elderly patients stay safe in their homes and reduces their risk of injuries caused by falls. The equipment consists of mats, grab bars, ramps, walkers, etc.
Such devices provide support surfaces to prevent falls. They can also be adjusted to fit individual patient preferences. For example, a mat can be placed at the edge of a bed to prevent falls.
Grab bars can be attached to walls to allow patients to stand up. Walkers can be used as crutches and wheelchairs. Even simple items, such as pillows, bathmats, and rugs can be used to prevent falls.
How can we prevent falls in older people?
Falls prevention is an important aspect of healthcare for elder patients. There are many ways in which we can help them avoid falling:
- Provide adequate lighting. Lack of light makes it difficult for people to see obstacles. A bright light source can help people find objects and avoid tripping over them.
- Ensure there are no loose carpets or rugs around the house. Loose carpets and rugs can trip people and make it hard for them to get up after falling and falling.
- Keep stairs well-lit and free of clutter. Stairs should not have furniture on top of them.
- Remove low-hanging curtains and blinds. Low-hanging curtains and blinds can obstruct the view and make it more difficult to move about safely.
- Make sure all doors and windows are closed properly. Doors and windows must be kept closed to ensure safety.
- Use handrails when needed. Handrails can help prevent falls if someone trips while walking.
- Avoid slippery floors. Slippery floors can lead to slips and falls.
- Install grab bars where necessary. Grab bars can be installed near toilets, baths, sinks, tubs, showers, and other areas where people frequently need assistance.
- Check out your local hardware store or department store to buy products that will help you keep your home safer.
- Consider hiring a professional to install these products before you start using them.
What are the different types of falls and how can they be prevented?
There are two basic types of falls – recurrent and nonrecurrent. Recurrent falls occur repeatedly within short periods of time, whereas nonrecurrent falls only happen once. Both recurrent and nonrecurrent falls pose risks to patients’ health. However, the risk of mortality is higher among those experiencing recurrent falls compared to those who experience nonrecurrent falls.
Recurrent falls usually occur because of issues related to strength and balance. Factors like dizziness, unsteady gait, loss of cognitive ability, and visual impairment can increase the risk of recurrent falls.
Nonrecurrent falls can arise from several causes including muscle weakness, arthritis, medication side effects, fatigue, dehydration, anxiety, mood disorders, and depression.
What are some ways that we can reduce the risk of falls in older adults?
We can reduce the risk of recurrent falls by doing the following:
- Assess the patient’s functional abilities. Determine whether they are able to do activities independently. If not, assess their dependence level.
- Encourage physical activity. Exercising regularly will help maintain strength and improve balance. It will also help regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
- Provide appropriate medications. Medication may cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, lethargy, and memory problems. These factors can contribute to falls. In addition, sedatives and hypnotics can cause sleepwalking.
- Develop strategies for managing dizziness. Some examples include getting up slowly, wearing glasses or contact lenses, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol, making sure that there are no high places in the house, and staying away from sharp objects.
- Monitor changes in patient’s behaviour. Watch for signs of dementia such as lapses in attention and forgetfulness.
- Recognize signs of delirium. Delirium occurs when patients have trouble communicating, responding appropriately, maintaining concentration, and keeping track of things. The symptoms are often confused with dementia.
- Maintain good hygiene. Washing clothes, beds, and bedside tables will help prevent infections.
- Look after yourself. Take breaks during long shifts to avoid stress. Eat healthy meals and get enough rest.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Alert caregivers when patients exhibit any of the following signs: trembling hands, sudden fainting, rapid heartbeat, slurred speech, or difficulty walking.
Falls in elderly people are one of the most common and potentially dangerous conditions faced by healthcare professionals and family members caring for them. A fall is “a slip, trip, or involuntary movement caused by lack of stability leading to injuries or death.
The risk of falling increases as age advances. Falls can result in a host of serious consequences ranging from minor cuts and bruises to fractures, head trauma, hip fractures, spinal cord injury, and even death. As such, it is important to identify the risk factors associated with falls to implement preventive measures.
Although many factors predispose an individual to have a fall, the main cause of falls among older adults is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone density which leads to fragile bones. When bones become weak due to low calcium levels, they are more likely to break easily than normal bones.
This makes your body less stable while standing, sitting, or lying down. With aging comes the decline of muscle mass and a decrease in flexibility, coordination, and reaction time. All these deficiencies make it harder for you to stay upright. Thereby increasing your chances of being injured if you lose your balance.
What kind of exercise is effective in reducing falls among older adults?
Exercise is essential to keep bones strong and flexible. Exercise improves coordination and balance, reduces stiffness and pain, and lowers blood pressure. It also helps in improving mood and mental health. Exercise helps to reduce depression and anxiety, improve self-esteem, enhance energy levels, increase endurance, boost strength, and improve overall fitness.
In addition to physical exercise, cognitive training or brain games play a significant role in preventing falls among elderly people. Cognitive training involves stimulating memory, learning new skills, and improving problem-solving abilities.
Brain games involve playing simple games like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word searches etc., to develop thinking and reasoning skills. These games require using both sides of the brain, enhancing executive functions. This is very helpful in maintaining cognitive health.
There has been evidence suggesting that regular participation in physical activities may prevent falls among elderly people. In fact, engaging in physical activities has proven to be an effective way to help seniors maintain their mobility and independence. However, certain types of exercises are better suited for different age groups. For example, aerobic exercises, like brisk walking, are best for young and middle-aged people, whereas resistance exercises, such as lifting weights, are ideal for older adults.
What Are The Falls Prevention Equipment That the Elderly Can Use?
Fall Prevention Equipment:
1) A Bed Sensor Is one of the most common forms of fall prevention equipment used by the elderly because it detects falls automatically when someone gets out of bed. It provides real-time alerts to caregivers if someone falls or trips. The sensors are designed to detect movement on the mattress surface and alert care providers immediately and it prevents the elderly from falling out of bed.
2) Grab Rails are another form of equipment for elderly fall prevention. They are installed at the top of the stairs and provide handrails for the elderly who want to go up or down the stairs without using their hands.
3) Chair Alarms are another popular type of fall prevention equipment. These devices emit loud noises whenever someone sits on them. This prevents potential injuries caused by slipping off the chair during sleep.
4) Shower Chairs are a great option for those who experience difficulty in and out of the shower. They come equipped with handles that allow the person to pull themselves up and sit down in the shower comfortably.
5) Hip Protectors are designed to fit around the hip area. It protects the hip from impact forces and can even cushion the fall if the person lands on his/her buttocks.
6) Range of Falls is another form of Falls Prevention technology that monitors the person’s movements in a room. If there is any change in position, this device will trigger an alarm.
7) Physical Activity is yet another type of fall prevention equipment that encourages physical activity. It tracks all activities performed in the house and helps monitor the amount of time spent on various activities.
8) Nurse Call is also known as “Siren” is one of the most common types of fall protection for the elderly. It works when a person triggers an emergency button inside the home. This device emits a loud noise so that the caregiver can easily locate the location of the sound.
9) Risk Factor for Falls is another form of preventive equipment. It looks like a giant black box mounted over the door frame. It can be connected to other devices within your home. You can program it to measure the distance you walk, the number of steps you take, the speed at which you move, and more.
10) Daily Living refers to daily tasks we perform throughout our lives. Some examples include eating, drinking, going outside, going to work, dressing, bathing, etc. Daily living falls prevention equipment measures these activities and evaluates whether they meet the required standards.