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New Campaigns Urge Reduced Risk of Falling

  • Category: In The News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Bryan S. Dudoussat, MD
Each year, millions of people–from elderly nursing home residents to hospitalized children to women who have just given birth–are injured by falls in health care facilities and homes.

In Louisiana, falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization. About 150 Louisianans die as a result of a fall injury each year, and 9,600 Louisianans are hospitalized for fall-related injuries.
The Louisiana Fall Prevention Coalition works to help the people of Louisiana maintain their independence and enhance the quality of their lives by reducing falls and fall injuries.

In addition, The Joint Commission, an independent, national, not-for-profit organization that certifies health organizations, recently launched a national campaign to help Americans reduce the risk of falling. The new education campaign recognizes that falls are a serious problem. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that falls are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths for people age 65 and over.

To reduce your risk of falling, consider the following

Take care of your health.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise builds strength.
  • Prevent dehydration to improve balance.
  • Have your eyes checked.
  • Talk to your doctor if your medicine makes you sleepy, light-headed, sluggish or confused.
  • Ask how to reduce these side effects or if you can take another medicine.
  • Take extra precautions.
  • Turn on the lights when you enter a room.
  • Make sure your pathway is clear.
  • Use the handrails on staircases.
  • Sit in chairs that do not move and have arm rests to help when you sit down and stand up.
  • Wear shoes that have firm, flat, non-slip soles.
  • Replace worn rubber tips on canes and walkers.

Make small changes to your home.
  • Install timers or motion sensors on your lights.
  • Use night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and the hallway leading to the bathroom. Keep the floor and stairs clear of clutter.
  • Remove small area rugs and throw rugs that can slip.
  • Put frequently used items in easy-to-reach places.
  • Make sure your bed is easy to get in and out.
  • Apply non-slip treads on stairs.
  • Apply non-slip decals or use a non-slip mat in the bathtub or shower.
  • Install grab bars near the toilet and the bathtub or shower.

Take extra precautions in the hospital or nursing home. Many falls occur when patients or residents try to get out of bed either to go to the bathroom or walk around the room by themselves. If you need to get out of bed:
  • Use your call button to ask for help getting out of bed if you feel unsteady.
  • Ask for help going to the bathroom or walking around.
  • Wear non-slip socks or footwear.
  • Lower the height of the bed and the side rails.