Among Canadian seniors, falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and between 20% and 30% of seniors fall each year, with the numbers rising. Falls and associated outcomes harm the injured individuals and affect family, friends, care providers and the health care system.
Falls can lead to negative mental health outcomes such as fear of falling, loss of autonomy and greater isolation, confusion, immobilization, and depression. In addition to the negative physical and mental health consequences of falling, significant associated financial costs are estimated at $2 billion annually, a value 3.7 times greater than that for younger adults.
Seniors who are hospitalized from a fall remain in the hospital an average of nine days longer than those hospitalized for any cause.
Some factors that put seniors at risk of falls include chronic and acute health conditions, balance or gait deficits, sensory factors, inadequate nutrition, and social isolation.
What a senior can do to prevent falls
Talk opening with your healthcare provider. Tell them immediately if you fall, worry about falling, or feel unsteady. Have your doctor or pharmacist review all your medicines, even over-the-counter ones.
Exercise to improve your balance and strength. Exercises that improve balance and strengthen your legs lower your chances of falling. It also helps you feel better and more confident. An example of this kind of exercise is Tai Chi.
Have your eyes and feet checked. Once a year, check with your eye doctor and update your eyeglasses if needed. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Also, have your feet checked once a year. Discuss with your healthcare provider proper footwear and wear well-fitting shoes with good support inside and outside the house.
Make your home safer. Remove things you can trip over from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping. Have grab bars put in next to and inside the tub and next to the toilet.
Home Care Support
Promyse Home Care offers a range of home care support for seniors, from personal care and home support, to companion care, nursing care and nurse case management to ensure the safety and comfort of living at home. Nurse Case Managers at Promyse are compassionate and friendly and provide open and honest ongoing communication and regular re-assessments to ensure your loved one’s physical, mental, and emotional needs are met. If needed, we can be the liaison between healthcare providers, doctors, pharmacists, and family members providing care to your parent or loved one.
The 4P’s Approach to Falls Prevention
As a caregiver, the 4P’s Approach is a good resource to help prevent loved ones from falling. They stand for: Pain, Position, Placement, and Personal Needs. This approach may be used by caregivers and members of the care team to help prevent falls by checking in daily and asking loved ones the following questions:
- Pain – Are you in pain? Do you have any discomfort?
- Position – Do you want me to help you move into a better position?
- Placement – Do you need anything to be placed within easy reach? (e.g., call bell, phone, reading material)
- Personal Needs – Do you need anything to drink or eat? Do you need to go to the washroom?
If your loved one has been hospitalized from a fall, Promyse caregivers can facilitate the transition into the home, acquiring medical devices or equipment, ensuring doctor’s orders are followed, and scheduling physiotherapy, new medications, or treatments as needed, and their personal care needs are provided for.
We aim to support and assist you as much as needed while encouraging as much independent care as possible. Should your needs change over time, our Nurse Case Manager will work with you and your caregiver to adapt the plan of care to ensure the best possible outcomes.