Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Fractures are the most common injury including fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand. To protect your mobility and independence minimize your risk for falls both at home or in the hospital using these steps.
What can I do to prevent a fall at home?
- Exercise Regularly – Focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications – both prescription and over-the-counter-to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness
- Get your eyes checked – Have an eye doctor examine your eyes at least once a year and update their eye glasses to maximize their vision
- Make your home safer – Reduce trip hazards by removing clutter, add handrails inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, add nonslip mats to the tub or shower, secure loose rugs, keep necessities within easy reach
- Wear sensible shoes – well fitting, low heeled, rubber soled shoes can help you keep your footing
- Keep things well lit – make sure you can see clearly at all times, add nightlights to your bedroom and bathroom, store flashlights where they’re easy to reach, turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs
What can I do to prevent a fall in the hospital?
The risk of falling increases in the hospital because patients are in an unfamiliar environment, have an acute illness, have had surgery, are on bed rest and/or are on numerous medications and treatments.
- Ask for help to get out of bed and whenever you are going to walk, especially if you are not feeling well
- Use your call button
- Ask for help with toileting
- Ask for a cane, walker or other device to make walking safer
- Ask a family member or friend to bring in your glasses or hearing aid so that you can better participate in your care
- Check for a clear and safe path before you walk
- If you feel unsteady or unbalanced on your feet, call for help and sit down again
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